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New store in Dogtown

Maybe it starts when you finally notice the tiny bird graffiti around Des Moines. Perhaps it‘s a run around Grays Lake under a picturesque sunset. It might just be scrolling through your Pinterest page, but the itch begins. The artistic itch. The bubbling right-brain need to finger paint, squelch clay and sketch nudes (or in the nude). Whether it’s a card for your mom or the next piece in the MOMA, it’s yours.

Creative-Coldsnow Artist Materials is the new art store on the block. From paints to canvas, easels to screen printing materials, it’s the shop with prices for any starving artist.

Morgan Vigon, 27, is the store manager and said that the Kansas City-based, family-owned company saw a need for the supply store in Des Moines.

“You don’t know how many people have come in and said ‘Oh my God, I’m so happy you’re here,’” Vigon said.

Students are finding value in having an art store close. Junior Grace Kerr said she likes mainly working with paint and crayon wax.

“Having an art store so close to my apartment is so convenient,” Kerr said. “Now I don’t have to drive far to get my basic art supplies.”

The goods

Creative-Coldsnow has a strong policy that if the store doesn’t have the product, and it’s not on the online inventory, they will still order it.

“We go out of our way to have everything the artist needs,” Vigon said.

The shop is packed top to bottom with an unusual variety of print-making materials, drafting tools, handmade paint and even fake model trees. On a tour of the shop, it’s hard to think of something the shop wouldn’t have. There’s a room just for a canvas and two rooms just for paper of all colors, textures and types. Best of all, almost everything is discounted.

“Spray paint of all kinds is trending right now, and our selection is honestly awesome,” Vigon said as she pointed to the long wall behind the register packed with a rainbow of colored bottles.

The local difference

Customers are greeted with an eclectic wall displaying the employees’ art. Vigon said this experience and knowledge makes Creative-Coldsnow different than hegemonic craft chains of Hobby Lobby and Michael’s. The store only employs artists, and most have a fine arts degree.

“We actually test out the supplies as they come in and let the customer try them,” Vigon said. “We don’t want to rip anyone off, you know? It should be a happy experience.”

She pointed to a bright, lacquered piece featuring a bee as her own work. She described her style and experimental, emotional-mixed media with “colors that play.”

“This is the third art store I’ve worked at, and we make ourselves knowledgeable about all of the products,” Vigon said.

Jason Wright, 28, is a Creative-Coldsnow employee and artist, and he described his work as independent comic art with an edgy, raw-rock style.

“I like meeting other artists that come in,” Wright said. “It’s always good to talk shop.”

As a customer walked in to pick up some supplies, she was greeted by name and promptly asked how her projects were going by the Creative-Coldsnow staff.

The bigger picture

Creative-Coldsnow wants the Des Moines community to get creative. Wright said that in the future, the store wants to have a large, scrolling monitor to display local artists’ work, just like the stores in Kansas City. Vigon also said they are working with art class instructors so that their students will be able to easily find supplies in one place.

Inventory is set to increase even further based on customers’ needs. With room next door, Vigon said the store is looking to expand and is looking to have a gallery attached.

“We’re also looking to host a set of art classes,” she said. “That’s still in the works.

“Artists want to be able to see and touch,” Vigon added. “That’s really what we’re here for, and I love it.”


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