Exalting the community through art

(Emily Thurlow)
Creative entrepreneurs Judy Bates, a screen printing artist, center, and Jessica Garb, a fashion designer, work in their new boutique’s screen printing studio. The new shop, HappyPlace Berkshires, took up residency at 312 Main St. in Great Barrington.

Jessica Garb is a fashion designer. Judy Bates is a screen printing artist.

Together, the local artisans have found their happy place in the Berkshires — specifically, Great Barrington.

Garb and Bates first began working together one year ago at a collaborative space in Great Barrington with other artists.

There, Garb sold her Jess’ Garb clothing, a mix of vintage fashion and original reworked designed fashion, and Bates sold her original, handmade screen printing products as Berkshire Poster.

After being received rather well by the community — and knowing that they could not make it on their own — the pair decided to team up in a new creative endeavor.

“We played well off of each other,” said Bates. “And as an artist in Berkshire County, you need help. You need community. With a short season and especially high rents, you can’t do it by yourself.”

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