Shop the Blocks 2020 Spotlight: Gomez Art Supply
We're spotlighting downtown retailers participating in Shop the Blocks 2020 all month. Get excited for the the 13th Annual Shop the Blocks in November!
Peggy Gomez has owned and operated the colorful, eclectic Gomez Art Supply since 2003.
Currently located at 122 N 14th Street, the store’s zany window displays created by Gomez and her employees never fail to turn heads.
The beloved downtown store is a one stop shop for Lincoln creators, UNL students, and art lovers.
DLA: How has Gomez changed over the years?
Peggy Gomez: The inventory changes. It ebbs and flows with what the trends are and the market in general, and then also what the trends are in Lincoln. Printmaking is always hot—but particularly with the pandemic, we sold a lot of linoleum blocks and covers. Printmaking that you can do at home. Screen printing goes in and out of favor, so we'll ebb and flow with that, with what we carry.
Gamblin came out with their own student-grade paint that I really like, so we'll push that. So for example, beginning painting kits for students that we used to put together, we used Winton. And then when Gamblin came out with that, because they're a nicer company and it's a better product made in the USA, we really pushed that. So professors listened to us and then picked that up.
Things like that happen all the time. Silver Brush is probably the only brush manufacturer owned by a woman, so not only are they great brushes, but that influences my decision in carrying something. There aren't that many women owners in the industry.
The Montana spray paint—there's the original Spanish Montana, and then the Germans came along and used the same name, and did a better job of getting their product out there. So once I realized that I was carrying the German Montana, I closed it out and then carried the original Spanish Montana, in part because I think it's wrong to do that to another company, but also my name is Gomez—I'll tend toward a product that has that kind of origin.
DLA: How else is Gomez involved with UNL and art students?
Gomez: We try to work with UNL as much as we can. I used to teach there, so I have a lot of connections. I got my undergrad degree there, and we give an award every semester in the store name to an art student.
We do a good job of making sure the students don't overbuy, and making sure they have the right products. For example, this summer David Gracie at Wesleyan taught a class, and because it was online I think a lot of people were buying online. We made 18 kits for his class and sold six. So the rest of the people got their stuff someplace else or online—and he said they all showed up with the wrong stuff. So we have a great reputation of making sure students show up with the right stuff.
DLA: What is your favorite part about owning an art store?
Gomez: I think the interactions with the people, with all the different artists, is my favorite part. Because every artist wants to talk about the project that they're working on and show us pictures. And it's just really cool to know what other artists are doing, I love that part.
DLA: What’s new to Gomez for the Fall?
Gomez: We're doing free giveaways every Saturday through the end of the year, for Small Business Saturday. Those have been fun. All the winners have been very excited and they come right away and pick up their stuff.
We're also starting a free postcard campaign—somebody sent me $50, they had their granddaughter come in and hand us an envelope with $50 in it, so I went to the post office and bought $50 worth of postcard stamps. People can come in and get a handmade postcard with a free stamp to try and help support the Post Office. We try to do stuff like that all the time. We've got free Black Lives Matter stickers that we give away certain days. Because we can do all our own screen printing, we can do stuff like that and it's easy for us.
We've got a sewing machine, so we have employees making masks that we're selling, too, as well as these zippered pouches.
DLA: What is the GloveBox?
Gomez: The Glovebox Collective is a collective of people that make linocuts and screen prints. Sometimes they're framed and sometimes they're unframed. We sell most of it in the room upstairs.
We were selling a lot of stuff at the beginning of the semester because the kids were looking to decorate their dorm rooms. What we sell the most of, by far, are the cards. The bestsellers are the chicken print and the tampon print.
Support Gomez and other downtown retailers this year during Shop the Blocks, November 5, 12, and 19!
This year, Shop the Blocks may look a little different, but Downtown Lincoln's boutiques, book stores, art galleries, specialty shops & stores are still here for you. So let's show up for them! Spread out over the first three Thursdays in November, take this opportunity to get access to your VIP Passport to enjoy special discounts, giveaways, and more.