Jen and James Crowe met and fell in love over 14 years ago, and they’ve been dreaming about a gallery of their own ever since. Jen’s parents owned a restaurant, so entrepreneurship is in her blood. She knew she wanted her own business and had dabbled in jewelry making, but after meeting James, the pieces just began to fall neatly in place. They hosted a few pop-up galleries, featuring their artwork, in places like Venice Beach and Santa Barbara. Never in their wildest dreams did they think they would end up opening their own gallery in Astoria, Oregon.
Jen is from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin (bonus points if you know which Oscar-winning movie also references Chippewa Falls), and James is from a little area near Dublin, Ireland. Jen has a background in art history and worked in retail. James originally moved to Los Angeles to be in the movie industry and had a long career as an editor on the Jimmy Kimmel late-night comedy show. He even won an Emmy for his work on the show!
When they got married, about six years ago, they discussed relocating to either Northern California or Ireland. Last Spring, they decided it was time to move out of the L.A. area and narrowed it down to Northern California or Ireland. After spending more time in Northern California, they decided it felt too remote and finally decided they would move to Ireland. Before they left, they wanted to go on one last road trip. So, they packed up the R.V. and decided to make a road trip traveling through the entire State of Oregon Coastline.
James and Jen were blown away by the beauty of the Oregon Coast, it’s healthy development and lively art scene. Suddenly they had second thoughts about Ireland. Ultimately, they decided to settle in Astoria, and that’s when they found the space for Vaulted Gallery in downtown Astoria at 1389 Duane Street. The spacious corner suite of the Norblad Building seemed perfect for their needs. The building has gone through many iterations since its construction in 1923, from a bank branch to a grocery cooperative and nonprofit thrift store. Perhaps all this time it was just waiting for the Crowes to find it and open Vaulted Gallery.
When asked what sets the gallery apart from others, they mentioned how well they work together. Their artistic styles compliment each other. Jen has a retail background, and James has the technical experience. They encourage and inspire each other, and that creates an environment where creativity thrives, and their business grows.
They’ve been overwhelmed with the success of Vaulted Gallery so far. The community has been incredibly supportive. Their open house, on November 9th, and inaugural Art Walk opening were filled with enthusiastic art lovers from all around Clatsop County and beyond. The gallery currently features Jen’s gorgeous handcrafted jewelry and textile art, as well as James’ signature photography. James uses a fascinating process where the photos are overlaid, creating a remarkable depth that pulls you in and captivates your spirit.
You might be wondering what’s next for Vaulted Gallery. The Art Walks are always fun, and the Crowes have some new pieces to introduce soon. They also hope to bring in some other artists in the Spring. With those vast vaulted ceilings, the ceiling is the only limit to the type of art they can include. It’s easy to imagine towering sculptures, woodwork, and other types of projected artwork. Jen and James are considering teaching classes. Jen would love to share her jewelry-making skills with a new audience, and James would like to teach photography.
It was about eight years ago that the couple began to seriously discuss opening a gallery of their own. What a thrill it is for them and the community to see their dream come into fruition here at the coast.
If you haven’t yet visited the Crowes at Vaulted Gallery, drop by and say hello. You’ll be impressed with not only their artwork but how personable they are. They clearly take a genuine interest in the community. Check out their website for hours of operations and upcoming special events. You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram.