Amidst all the changes Covid-19 brought to Northwest Georgia, perhaps one of the most striking has quietly happened on 9 Bale Street in Rome’s River Arts District.

This week, artists Cabell Sweeney and Chelsea Riley will welcome the community to experience the fruits of their labor with an open house and sale.

While the handcrafted pottery is the main attraction, the story behind the transformation of the property itself is equally exciting — especially to those who have dreamed for decades of 5th Avenue becoming an arts enclave.

Formerly housed inside the Swift & Finch Coffee Shop building, growth for both the coffee business and Cabell’s Designs launched a search for the perfect new space last year. With artists’ eyes, Sweeney & Riley walked the streets and side streets of downtown Rome in search of their new studio.

Brian Dulaney’s building at 9 Bale Street was a diamond in the rough, but he shared the vision for what an anchor it could become for the budding arts district. He had been waiting for the right partnership. When Riley & Sweeney showed up unannounced at his office in their paint splattered work wear, the conversation began.

Cabell’s designs sells their products to boutiques across the South.

“The reason we are having the open house and sale is to share our studio and art with our neighbors here in Rome,” Sweeney said. “Our dream is that people will get a glimpse of what is possible with existing buildings when given a bit of love and attention.

“Rome is such a special community,” Sweeney added. “I have been encouraged and amazed through this process at the support we have received. It feels like we are standing on the precipice of decades of work. I just can’t believe we get to be a part of it.”

Cabell’s Designs Open House & Sale will be open to the public today through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It’s located at 9 Bale Street.

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