When eight female artists opened “3 Rooms Up” in 1971, the venture made the front page of the Sunday Star Tribune.
“At that time, it was kind of unusual for women to start a business,” said co-founder Patty Burrets.
Each artist chipped in $150, painted the walls, and stocked their own work to sell on consignment at the shop, located “three rooms up” the stairs at 4316 Upton. Burrets’ contribution was macramé, along with cut-and-torn paper landscapes.
Forty-four years later, Burrets is still running the shop. Burrets and her daughter Amy Nelson recently relocated Three Rooms from the Galleria to 44th & France, returning to the neighborhood where the shop got its start. The other founders moved on long ago to careers teaching art, launching jewelry companies, or working at Better Homes and Gardens.
“You don’t do anything for this length of time unless you love it,” Burrets said. “This is not, for me, a job.”
Three Rooms focuses on handcrafted and fair-trade artwork: birdhouses covered in vintage book pages by Dave Vissat, acrylics on wood by Brian Jensen, pastels by Kathy Heerwald, and tiles of glass on kiln-fired copper by Houston Llew.
Burrets said she treasures the relationships she’s formed with the artists.
“I don’t think there are a whole lot of places like this,” she said.
The shop hosts a happy hour with wine and cheese every third Thursday of the month.