A New Kind of Creative Hub in Downtown Rhinebeck
The Beck, located in historic downtown Rhinebeck, NY is a design gallery and workspace created by the husband and wife team of tax expert Aaron Smyle, president of Smyle and Associates, and Ana Claudia Schultz, principal of Ana Claudia Design. The space, opened in July 2020, serves as a hub for business created to showcase Hudson Valley makers and artists, and provides a way for both residents and visitors to tap into the pulse of the region.
The Beck features multi-purpose event space and gallery – a new maker is featured quarterly – as well as the founding duo’s office spaces. Products from featured artists are available on their website store, broadening the reach beyond the Hudson Valley. We connected with them to uncover the inspiration behind the business, how they tackled the challenge of opening during a pandemic, and what’s next for this growing Hudson Valley business.
Inside+Out: What inspired you to start The Beck?
The Beck: We admire local artisans and makers in our area and love to promote them. Being small business owners ourselves, we know the importance of referrals, magnifying talent, and supporting local businesses. Also, especially with the current economy, we are hyper-focused on the local economy.
Inside+Out: What was the biggest challenge about launching during the pandemic?
The Beck: The largest issue for us is not knowing what the pandemic will affect next. Foot traffic slowed down our neighbors The Amsterdam, if they were busy, we’d have more street/foot traffic to view our display and schedule visits. The pandemic also affects product lead times due to materials not being available to build their work. However, we are very lucky and grateful to have had the opportunity to launch in a pandemic or otherwise.
Inside+Out: How do you balance growing and maintaining the gallery with your own businesses?
The Beck: Because there are two of us we can divide and conquer. And because I (Ana) am an interior designer, there is some overlap and I had already built most of my maker relationships which helped.
Inside+Out: What do you look for in a collaborator, and what influences your selection of featured artists?
The Beck: What influences our selection the most is “do we like it?” We don’t think about it, we just gravitate towards their work then ask if they are interested. Scheduling the display is affected by the type of product or material they work with. If we have a potter one quarter we will not have another the following quarter.
Inside+Out: Why downtown Rhinebeck? What is it about the town that makes it a hub for creatives?
The Beck: We are close to Rhinebeck, it’s very inviting for visitors, there are local makers near us, and it’s a charming city.
Inside+Out: Why do you like living + working in the Hudson Valley?
The Beck: We work hard, work most days, but when we need a breathe, the Hudson Valley gives us that opportunity.
Inside+Out: What’s next for The Beck?
The Beck: We take one step at a time. Now it’s the website store, more makers, and continuing to display local makers. Next, who knows?
All photos courtesy of The Beck.