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Mt. Lebanon Landmark Barn Will Soon Be Home To Artists

MOUNT LEBANON (KDKA) -- KoolKat Designs in Mount Lebanon is a go-to place for buyers of art. The narrow aisles are packed with the work of more than a hundred local artists.

Kate McGrady opened the shop nine years ago.

KoolKat specializes in jewelry, but the owner says she also carries "ceramics, glass, woodwork, anything we can put in the store. Unfortunately, the store is full."

Good problem to have? Maybe. But it's still a problem.

"There are artwork artists, pottery artists, and glass artists and metalworking artists who we have no place for. And we want to represent them," said McGrady.

They want to add another 150 to 200 artists. They have enough artwork to fill a barn. As a matter of fact, that's the idea.

The old red barn down the road was an A & P supermarket in the '30s, but it's best known as the former home of Rollier's Hardware.

"We're essentially restoring it to more the shape it was in when Rollier's was there," McGrady says, "which was just big open spaces."

KoolKat Designs has teamed up with the building owners to share the space, and create a new business called "Artsmiths."

"It will have an exhibit gallery, three teaching classrooms, the cafe, and a much larger store," she said. "This is a thousand square feet, less than a thousand. The new place is 10,000 square feet."

McGrady doesn't anticipate any problems filling the shelves.

"We already have 300 artists who have expressed interest in being in the new space," said McGrady.

She hopes to move KoolKat into the barn by spring.

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