Last Friday night was the bi-annual Gallery Hop in downtown Rock Island, Illinois. I always attend this community arts event held in December and May. Gallery Hop highlights local artists and their work by featuring them in the businesses. This December event was an opportunity for my sister and I to check out some new shops, as well as some of the well known shops in the District area.
Our first stop was to the Skeleton Key Art & Antiques mall. The mall was packed with hand crafted gift items, vintage finds and original art. We thought that anyone could find something to gift at this location.
We drove a few blocks north to our next stop, The Cool Arts, which is a new graphic design firm owned by designer, Ryan Luke. Ryan offers design services for your print and web needs. This stop also showcased work by soap and candle artist, Andrea Luke, and jewelry artist, Ana Garza Moore as well as music by Mona.
Just around the corner from The Cool Arts is Vintage Varieties, an antique and vintage shop filled with all manner of collectible and estate items. Over a cup of hot cider, we discussed the collections with the owner who is an experienced antique dealer.
Wrapping ourselves warmly, we continued north to the Gentry Boutique which is a fashionable clothing and accessory shop. We decided that we needed to return to do some personal shopping in the near future.
SK Models was our next stop, where artist, Mary Scott, displayed her photographic work with her canine model.
Right across windy Arts Alley is Quad City Arts where we went to see the latest juried exhibition. We also shopped at their gallery gift shop which is a favorite place to find carefully selected decorative and functional art by regional artists. We stayed for some hot chocolate and enjoyed the work of the featured wood artist.
Just west of Quad City Arts is Barkan’s clothing store. This store always has nicely merchandised windows and clothing for the discriminating trend setter.
Southwest and across the street, we arrived at the Shoppes on 2nd. This complex houses several interesting shops including a new age shop, an event planning shop, a cloth diaper design shop, a skateboard shop, and a clothing shop. We were greeted by local author, Sean Leary, and his son. I am presently reading one of Sean’s books, Does The Shed Skin Know It Was Once A Snake?: A Collection Of Short Stories. Last year I bought one of his children’s books as a gift. The book became a favorite of the little girl who received it.
As the wind became colder, we walked to the northwest corner to Taste Buds, a candy, nut, coffee, tea and smoothie shop, that has just relocated to the District from the College Hill area. My favorite treat at this shop is the Chocolate Amaretto Pecans. This treat will bring me downtown any day! Of course, their coffee and tea selection is wonderful, too.
Next to Taste Buds is The ARTery gallery, and MidCoast Gallery West. The ARTery gallery run by artist and teacher, Carolyn Krueger, is a sales gallery which rents space to local artists. The MidCoast Gallery West owned by MidCoast Fine Arts has juried exhibitions by local artists. We spent some time here talking and listening to live music and enjoying the colorful art.
Our last stop was next door at Colman Florists. The florist shop which is a long standing business in the Quad Cities area was beautifully decorated for the holidays. We enjoyed a cookie and conversation and admired the work by photographer, Lisa Francescon, who specializes in stunning pet portraits. We wished that we had more time to make all of the stops on the Gallery Hop map and to see all the new businesses downtown. A future shopping trip is planned with a visit to one of the many restaurants in the area.
Enjoy the holidays and shop downtown Rock Island. We always do!
Here is a sampling of shops that are downtown Rock Island, Illinois.
- Vintage Varieties 1808 3rd Avenue – eclectic antique store which also offers decorator items, designer purses, and art glass
- Dan Vinar Furniture 500 20th St – high quality furniture store that is affordable – new furniture
- Discounted Furniture 2125 3rd Ave – premiere new and used furniture store that offers layaway and financing options
- Skeleton Key Art & Antiques – 520 18th St.
- Kindred Styles Antiques – 1918 7th Avenue – specialize in furniture and decorative objects from the Arts & Crafts time period. Also offer restoration services
- Spellbound New Age & Gift Shop – 1700 2nd Ave Suite 2 – offering a wide variety of gifts and New Age items, including jewelry, crystals, books, incense and herbs, dragons, candles, fairies, figurines, wind chimes and more
- Barkan’s Clothing – 1709 2nd Ave
- Celebrate! Special Event – 1700 2nd Ave – formal event consignment store for weddings, proms, and more
- Gentry Boutique – 218 18th St – offering fashion forward & contemporary clothing, accessories, home goods and gifts.
- Two a “T” Custom Creations & Rentals – 1700 2nd Ave – custom designed weddings & events
- Colman Florist – 1623 2nd Ave– Floral arrangements and gifts
- Mellow Blue Panet – 2212 5th – carries a full line of Dark Horse, DC, Image, IDW, Marvel, and many more independent books you won’t find at other comic shops. Also carry action figures, statues, and comic & movie posters to enhance your collection
- Taste Buds – 150 16 ½ St. – gourmet chocolates, candies, popcorn, nuts and snack mixes, coffee beans, smoothies and gourmet coffee and drinks.
- Teranga House of Africa – 1706 3rd – handmade dresses, hats, jewelry, shea butter lotions and soaps, and more.
- Switch Stance Skate Shop – in the building “The Shoppes on 2nd” – skateboard accessories, skateboarding apparel and shoes
- Rocket Bottoms – The Shoppes on 2nd – Custom cloth diapers
- Lavish Salon & Spa -1805 3rd Ave – offers a wide variety of salon and spa services
- Susan’s Closet – 1700 2nd, Suite 6
- Cycletherapy – 1607 2nd
- Quad City Arts Gallery Store – 1715 2nd Ave
- MidCoast Fine Arts Gallery West – 1629 2nd Ave
- The ARTery – 1629 2nd Ave
- The Cool Arts – 313 18th St.