CAMDEN—The little garage sitting next to The Smoothie Shack at 46 Elm Street became available recently when friends and business partners Ariela Kuh and Molly O’Rourke each saw her own vision of how it could be used. The new business, both small bar/restaurant and art showroom, is called Betty Forever, inspired by a collaborative exhibition they both had at The Steel House, Rockland in 2018.
The name is an homage to the artist Betty Woodman.
On Saturday, September 15, the garage doors rolled up in a soft opening with grey light washing in over tables of Kuh’s artfully arranged ceramic ware, ANK Ceramics.
Kuh moved her studio to the back of the garage, where she works full time running her ceramic business. A small annex near the entrance serves as a permanent showroom for her work.
Meanwhile, O’Rourke has plans for the open, reverberant space as a small bar/restaurant and event space. They first had to renovate the garage with a new paint scheme, a built in bar with wine refrigerators and a small functional kitchen hidden by a demi wall.
“Ariela and I are good friends and we’ve each worked in the art and food worlds,” said O’Rourke. “We were looking for a flexible, open downtown space, so when we got word of the garage coming up for rent, we knew this was the right spot.”
“Personally I envision the space as a multi-faceted art and food venue geared toward our local friends and community,” she said.
“I currently run my own event design and planning business, so I'm excited to be able to make the space available for private events such as birthdays, gatherings, rehearsal dinners, and work functions,” said O’Rourke. “The venue will also be open as a bar/restaurant a few nights a week. I hope it will fill a nice little niche in the local Camden scene.”
The event space has the capacity of 48 people. The acoustics are very good within the space too, lending itself to more artist events in the future. Kuh and O’Rourke recently hosted a book launch party for the release of Echo Mask, a photo book created by local photographer and friend Jonathan Levitt.
“We’re going to be having a series of openings so stay in touch with us on our website or Instagram page,” said O’Rourke.
For more information visit: bettyforever.com / @bettyforevermaine on Instagram
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org