Kirsten Anderson, the well-known owner and operator of the late Roq La Rue Gallery (which closed just over a year ago), is opening a new gallery and interiors shop today on Capitol Hill. It's called Creatura House, and it's located in the space once occupied by Alive and Well. I visited Anderson's new place recently and can say with some confidence that it has a different vibe from that of Roq La Rue, a gallery that featured pop surrealist work. Instead of the standard white walls, Creatura has textured paint, abstract elephant wallpaper, and slick black tiling. The new space also combines her passion for philanthropy, the natural world, and conservation with the business of art and design. As Anderson put it, “Everything in the shop is made to relate to the natural world in an artistic way.”
Creatura House will rotate featured artists monthly, still maintaining some of the classic gallery switch outs, but they will be smaller and more intimate; one artist showing about six pieces at a time. “Other pieces will be in the shop, but will come and go as my whims dictate so that each time you come, there will be something different.” After Creatura's first show of works by Peter Ferguson—an illustrator and Roq regular who decided to pursue a career in art after watching Star Wars in the mid-'70s—the space will feature Travis Louie, who will be exhibiting a series based on extinct species that he expresses in a Victorian manner. Next, Anderson will show Josie Morway, whose exquisitely detailed oil paintings bring dreamlike animal portraits to life. But whether you come to Creautra House for the one of a kind artworks, the décor, or the candles, expect to find a lot of Anderson herself in the space.
For the last year, Anderson has been between Seattle and Africa working on land conservation for wildlife through her non-profit, Creatura Wildlife Projects. Her thing has been about incentivizing private landowners in the Serengeti to reserve their otherwise agricultural plots for wildlife refuges. When I asked Anderson about the project, she referenced the increased poaching in the area and how difficult it can be for individuals to make a life for themselves while also protecting the land for wildlife. “Poaching is a terrible problem, human encroachment on land is a terrible problem, you can get more land for agriculture than you can to keep an elephant on, so, it is easier just not to have wildlife on your land.”
Part of the work she does is geared towards generating mutual benefits between wildlife and the humans who also utilize the land to sustain themselves. Creatura House will donate a portion of its proceeds towards such conservancy projects—just another reason out of many to give Anderson a huge welcome back to the neighborhood!
Creatura House has its grand opening this evening, and will also be hosting an Instagram-driven cute pet contest tomorrow (Sat., Dec. 16), from 11 am to 2pm.