Pygmalion's Art Supplies will be closing its doors for good on June 30.
After more than 48 years in business in downtown Bloomington, Pygmalion’s Art Supplies will close its doors for good Tuesday. The store’s departure will leave a significant gap in resources for local artists, especially Indiana University art students.
For decades, the store and the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture and Design have had a loose partnership in which the store offered kits of relevant materials to students, as well as provided bulk supplies for classes.
“Supplying kits for the university goes back to the very beginning,” said Pygmalion’s manager Chase Lewandowski. “It has been a partnership that has helped both of us succeed.”
The Eskenazi School won’t have to do without its usual resources - the majority of tools and materials needed can be ordered from other distributors.
But Ahmed Ozsever, an assistant professor of Creative Core courses at the Eskenazi School, said that creates a longer wait that professors may want to be cognizant of.
“(I’m) thinking of the upper-level student who’s just painting and painting and painting and just churning out a lot of work,” Ozsever said. “Before you realize it, you’re out of a color. And instead of being able to just run to the store, they have to go through a much longer ordering process.”
But even more than the loss of immediacy, Ozsever said the closure means a loss of potential new experiences and media.
“Going to the arts supply store,” Ozsever says, “inevitably you see all kinds of other materials that maybe you don’t know about because art school can’t introduce every single material that there is. Something about having that visible and on hand can help open up new possibilities.”
A representative of the Eskenazi School said it currently does not have any official partners to replace Pygmalion’s.
Pygmalion’s owner Nancy Crenshaw told the Indiana Daily Student that she was forced to close the store after a large rent increase and widespread store closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The town is going to have a hole in it,” Lewandowski said. “Pygmalion’s has helped bring the arts community together in Bloomington and offered a comforting atmosphere with cats and friendly, knowledgeable staff.
“It’s always been more than a business and building. It’s fueled by community.”
Tuesday, June 30, will be the store’s final day in operation.