WESTFIELD, NJ – Francesca Rizzo opened her limited-time Pop-Up Arts Market boutique at 327 South Avenue West earlier this month in the hope of creating a casual space where artists and non-artists alike could be creative and where works could be displayed and sold.
Anyone interested in shopping for unique artwork or dropping in to draw is encouraged to do so before Rizzo closes the store and packs up her wares, which “might be in just another week or so,” she said.
On Wednesday, Rizzo was expecting a group of women to come by in the early evening for a friendly night out to talk and doodle.
“Sometimes it’s so much easier to chat while drawing,” she said.
Rizzo was able to take advantage of the available space between long-term leases to open the pop-up shop.
“It’s been really fun to have such a gorgeous space to express myself,” Rizzo said Wednesday afternoon.
The shop features gifts, home décor, rehabilitated furniture and paintings. In the center of the boutique is a stretch of tables covered with old wallpaper and drawing utensils where visitors are invited to draw.
Rizzo, a Westfield High School graduate who now lives in Rahway, owns Francesca Unlimited. She specializes in taking older furniture and giving these pieces a second life.
“There’s something about a really sad piece of furniture, that’s all scratched up but has good bones, that really inspires me,” she said.
Rizzo pointed out a pair of small children’s chairs in the front window that were once decorated with a well-loved cartoon character but which she re-imagined as pink and blue with cheerful flowers.
Toward the back of the store, Luisa Ruiz of North Plainfield sat at a table concentrating on her own projects. She enjoys her own workspace at the store as part of her employment there.
“I customize sneakers, onesies, anything I can get my hands on,” said Ruiz, 19. “Having my own workspace is very nice.”
Once the shop closes, Rizzo plans to hit the art festival and flea market circuit this summer. She had previously rented a back room at Antique Antics down the street before setting up in her current location.
Rizzo said she would entertain opening a pop-up store within an existing store in town if that became available.
Pop-Up Arts Market is open Tuesday 1-6 p.m. and until 7 p.m. by appointment, Wednesday 1-7 p.m., Thursday and Friday 1-9 p.m., Saturday noon until 9 p.m. and Sunday noon until 6 p.m.