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Local Art Gallery/Boutique Closes Its Doors

In September 2013, Hilary Nauman and her fiancee/business partner Michael Boyd opened Shrewdness of Apes in a small storefront in Covington on 7th Street. After nearly two years of business, the gallery and boutique, which hosted several shows and openings for local artists and makers, is closing its doors. Nauman has accepted a position as the Executive Director at the Middletown Arts Center and she and Boyd will soon be moving north to be closer to her job.
 
The River City News caught up with Nauman this week to talk about the closing of SOA, her time in Covington, and her new opportunity in Middletown.
 
RCN: When did the shop close? What was the reason for closing?
 
Nauman: Our official closing was in July. We had been on a hiatus of sorts after our last big project "You and Me Across the Sea". We were both focusing our our own work and I was pursuing an amazing opportunity. I was lucky to be offered the position of Executive Director with the Middletown Arts Center. The MAC is a not for profit art center that focuses on promoting art in the community and creating learning opportunities. We have some amazing classes that are pretty rare to find in this area including, metalsmithing, enameling, and glass fusing, along with the more traditionally offered ceramics, drawing, painting and photography. We also have workshops and host 8 to 10 major exhibits per year. With my new commitment to the MAC, Michael and I came to the difficult decision to close the Covington location of Shrewdness of Apes. 
 
RCN: What are plans for the shop going forward?
 
Nauman: We plan to keep working on our art, both of us will be exhibiting in other galleries and participating in a few shows. We will also begin focusing on our online presence, from selling pieces to curating online collections. We also both keep active with our tumblr and drawing blogs. We are definitely going to keep working as Shrewdness of Apes. Maybe one day in the future the time will be right to open a space once again.
 
RCN: What were the challenges of operating in Covington?
 
Nauman: I think the biggest challenge for us was the lack of foot traffic. With the opening of Braxton Brewery we had hoped to see more people making their way across the street but we really just didn't see it happen. We really "love the cov" but the crowds didn't really mix for us. The other major challenge for us was that we were unable to be open during regular business hours as we were both also working other jobs. This was a labor of love for us; it was something we both wanted and really enjoyed doing. We just didn't have the foot traffic to take it to the next step given our limited hours. We were, of course, hoping for one to make the other possible but it just wasn't in the cards this time around. 
 
RCN: What are you going to miss most about the city?
 
Nauman: I hope to stay as involved as I can, so hopefully nothing!! For the duration of my time as a small business owner I have felt that Covington was on the brink of something. It saddens me that I won't be a part of it in the way I was planning but I hope to celebrate in its successes in any way I can. 
 
RCN: How can your customers stay in touch with SOA?
 
Nauman: Customers can contact us through e-mail at [email protected] or at our website at www.shrednessofapesgallery.com. We'd love to keep in touch with everyone who supported us over the years! And we wish Covington and its many small businesses and creatives the best!
 
Interview by Jerod Theobald, managing editor/Photo: SOA (RCN file)