Studio 8369 offers upscale artistic charm in downtown Grand Lake
September 15, 2017
When husband and wife team Keith and Laura Kratz moved to the high country in 2013 they had a specific goal in mind, opening their own shop in the quaint mountain community of Grand Lake; in March this year their dream became a reality with the creation of Studio 8369 on Grand Avenue.
Their dream had existed for years but four years ago the couple visited Grand Lake for their 28th wedding anniversary and something inside them changed. At the time Keith and Laura were long time Kansas City residents but their brief vacation in Middle Park spurred their imaginations.
"We both felt the push at the same time," Laura said. "We went back to Kansas City and put a for sale sign in our front yard. We quit our jobs and sold most of our belongings to move out here."
For three years the duo worked for others in the region with Laura gaining valuable experience working as the manager of one of Grand Lake's local gift shops. In early March, after years of preparation, the Kratz's finally made their dream a reality with the opening of Studio 8369.
The shop has a refined yet unpretentious mountain west decor filled with an eclectic mix of pieces on sale. Laura and Keith are warm and inviting and are happy to talk about the Studio's pieces as well as art in general.
Studio 8369's name is derived from the elevation of Grand Lake, 8,369-feet above sea level. Laura said she chose to called the shop a Studio rather than a gallery for a couple of different reasons. First of all the term studio is appropriate because Laura is an artist herself and the shop serves are her studio alongside its role as gallary. The Studio often hosts visiting artists who will utilize the space as well. Second, the Kratz's wanted their store to be open and inviting.
"We didn't want people to be afraid to come in," Laura said. "Sometimes people are afraid of galleries."
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Studio 8369 features a dizzying variety of works in multiple mediums with over 70 different artists featured at the shop. Laura was happy to highlight multiple works from several Grand County artists including an entire section of Karen Vance paintings.
Locally sourced aspen, juniper and beetle kill pine wood is used by several artisan carpenters who make vases, bowls, furniture and even lamps; all available at Studio 8369. The Kratz's also have pottery pieces from from potters in Colorado, a fine art photography gallery feature Estes Park based photographer Erik Stensland, and some unique items such as wooden puzzles, featuring images of paintings and even some photography work by Keith.
"We have created something that otherwise isn't here," Laura said. "We have some really fine art here."
Keith echoed her sentiments.
"We have established this as a destination studio and gallery," he said.