We had the good fortune of connecting with Chrystal DeCoster and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chrystal, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Western Stars Gallery & Studio opened in November of 2015 — after the flood & because of the flood of 2013. The building at 160 East Main in Lyons became available at the last minute & I, with two other women, decided to open a place to celebrate artists / artisans of the region whom we considered to be “stars of the west.” Studio spaces, residences & art-outlets were diminished because of the flooding & we wanted to provide a place where we could get money in the pockets of artists.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My background is as eclectic as my taste & breadth of experience in art. Stephens College in Columbia, MO allowed me to dip my brushes in my varied interests in horses, poetry, cartooning, journalism, & fine art. This led me to working on publications, in ad agencies & for printing companies. Eventually I earned an MAT in art education from the University of Louisville which allowed me to teach fine art & visual communications at the secondary & post-secondary levels in Washington state & Rhode Island, & later become a director of educational programming, These combined experiences have allowed me to effectively brand, promote, holistically define, & hierarchically develop Western Stars where we encourage, incubate & facilitate the sales of art while other strategic fall-back engines operate to keep our doors open as seasons ebb and flow.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There is so much to see & do in the Front Range of Colorado. Depending upon the interests of the visiting friend, I might take them to the Denver Art Museum, zip down to Garden of the Gods & Manitou Springs, explore nearby Rocky Mountain National Park, head to the burgeoning arts district of Longmont, while stopping at fine eateries, breweries, & distilleries en route, As far as favorites, we personally frequent Bird & Jim’s in Estes, Sugar Beet in Longmont, Spirit Hound & Bella La Crema in Lyons, & Shine Restaurant in Boulder.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Having bought out my two original partners, I have my husband, David DeCoster, to largely thank for jumping in to a foreign realm to work alongside me. He’s retired from an impressive R & D Chemical Engineering career, but grew up in a home of art appreciators / collectors. Together we have changed-over our POS system to one more conforming to a gallery setting, adapted systems, flow & operations conducive to positive growth & the pandemic, & have grown our stable of artists & consignors to over 240. He’s the rock star here.
Photos by C. Chrystal DeCoster, Lyons, CO