While many buildings are coming down in Center City Allentown, an art gallery is going up.
Ann Elizabeth Schlegel is partnering with Sharon Vidmar McCarthy to open Studio 606 ~ Palette & Pen in the former Saloman's Jewelers building on Hamilton Street.
Salomon's was sold to City Center developer J.B. Reilly and closed earlier this year. The block that it is located on is part of Reilly's long-term plan to build new office and apartment space downtown.
But, in the meantime, the space is vacant and Schlegel said it was calling out to her.
Schlegel, a prominent Allentown artist, has many of her works hanging in Lehigh Valley corporate offices and restaurants including the art hanging in Pistachio's and Youell's in the city's West End.
One of her corporate clients was Reilly and so when she told him she was looking to leave her spot in Bethlehem's Banana Factory after 13 years and open her own space, he suggested the former jewelry store.
“This was perfect,” said Schlegel. “With a little paint, this will be a fantastic space.”
She will use the front of the store for a studio and gallery space. McCarthy, who last year began her own public relations firm, Surge Communications, will write in the back.
McCarthy, who has had a long career in public relations in the non-profit sector, is looking forward to being more than just another downtown business. She hopes to reach out to arts groups in the area to make sure there is room for the arts and culture as well as offices and hockey as Allentown redevelops itself around the City Center complex.
Schlegel said even though that development leaves her building's future uncertain she is excited to be part of the downtown development.
“I don't know what the future is for this building,” she said. “But with the renaissance going on I feel like I'm in on the ground floor with everybody else.”
Studio 606 ~ Palette & Pen is located at 606 W. Hamilton St., Allentown. It will have a grand opening Nov. 25.