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Local Charm

Creativity Thrives at Boulder’s All-female Art Nonprofit within a Historic Victorian on West Pearl

Article by Kalene McCort

Photography by Bridget Dorr

Originally published in Boulder Lifestyle

Marie-Juliette Bird, a Boulder resident since age 2, has always been guided by creativity.

As a child, she perfected pirouettes at The Ballet Arts Studio (the early origins of Boulder Ballet)—located above what is now the eatery SALT. She later attended Juilliard to study dance. While living in London, she taught piano lessons to actor Jude Law and has had her fine jewelry line Blackbird and the Snow featured on the cover of Vogue.

As founder of The New Local—Boulder’s all-female arts nonprofit—Marie is championing women creatives and the next generation of makers in her own backyard.

“I guess I always had a gallery fantasy tucked deep into my imagination,” Marie says. “But nonprofits were not on my radar before I launched TNL. It dawned on me that this structure is the most viable path forward, towards a sustainable arts presence in downtown Boulder.”

Before securing a permanent location at 741 Pearl St., TNL hosted a successful pop-up within a space that held former janitorial retailer Top Hat Supply in 2019. In 2022, TNL evolved from a seasonal offering to a year-round living museum. 

While rotating artists and staff contribute to the enchantment found within this thriving locale, the dwelling itself adds to the overall magic. 

The Montgomery House—TNL’s home base that dates back to 1880—is an eye-catching Queen Anne, complete with lush vines and stained-glass windows. 

“It’s so special to steward this gorgeous, historic building in downtown Boulder,” Marie says. “I feel a synergy between our iconic local landmark and the project that we are cultivating, which is deeply and inherently local.”

Pieces by 60 local artisans can be found within the inviting gallery, and six affordable artist studios stay filled with creatives working in a variety of mediums.

“It feels like we are churning up the next dynamic arts wave within Boulder,” Marie says.

TNL is a place to purchase everything from beaded tapestries to leather vests and floral bouquets, but it’s also where all can dabble in creative expression.

An array of workshops, some provided on a sliding-scale rate, are part of the mix. Many offerings are spearheaded by Lynette Errante, TNL’s director of operations – who also sells her ceramics in the gallery.  

“When Lynette joined TNL, I asked her if she would like to develop a workshop program, and she grew that seed suggestion into a blossoming garden,” Marie says. “From the moment we started offering classes, the response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Passersby may witness children in a “fairytale forest” camp adorning tree trunks with gnome doorways or peek in on a group of Marshall Fire survivors partaking in art therapy. 

“It’s wonderful to build that bridge between our talented roster of creators and the broader community of Boulder and beyond,” Marie says. “I often see people literally glowing after a class at TNL. People love to be in community and create.”

The artistry flows to TNL’s The Annex at 713 Pearl St., which in October will hold the work of Amistad—a local nonprofit that uplifts the Latinx community—for a Día De Los Muertos residency.

Marie’s fine jewelry can also be found within cases at TNL, some items placed in boxes lined with red velvet. A swallow necklace rests in an actual bird’s nest, still holding delicate plumes. 

“I started making jewelry when I was living in London, working on musical projects,” Marie says. “I was forever cutting up vintage clothes and safety pinning them together, tying dried starfish into my hair with thread, connecting baubles–you know, DIY design.”

Although much of Marie’s current days are spent making the nonprofit soar, she still dreams of creating time for future endeavors. 

“I’ve been working on a butterfly wing fine jewelry collection for 600 years,” Marie says, “Maybe when TNL hits its stride, I’ll get back to that project.”

For now, she revels in helping locals sell their work within a model designed to fairly benefit artists.

“I think a common thread between my own mediums and expressions is the natural world, which is informed by growing up in Boulder,” Marie says. “We’re all so lucky to be surrounded by the wilderness here, as well as so many trees within the city limits.”

An elevated earthiness pours from each pocket of TNL.

“This ode to the natural world is a language shared by so many TNL artists, from botanical dyers to ceramicists who imprint local flora to painters of topographical mountain landscapes, we’re all translating what we see and feel into mediums that we hope people appreciate,” Marie says.

TNL is open every day and accepts monetary support through

“I love manifesting this dream into reality in my hometown,” Marie says. “Working with a talented team, giving artists a platform, enriching the community through innovative programming, curating an elevated gallery space on West Pearl—it’s all good.”