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From the Grounds Up

From the Grounds Up

by Paul Seibert

It was feared that it was lost. Another casualty of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic. Gogh-Getters Gallery was about to lose its forever home with the closure of its physical location, the Sacred Grounds Cafe at 233 North Main Street, Edwardsville. With the current business environment, founder and owner Jenn Courtney would retire after 21 years and the Cafe would be no more.


Yes, Jenn would retire, but another hero would emerge and bring the Cafe back to life. Enter Kate Baumgartner, a fervent fan and believer in this hallowed coffee shop. A last-minute transition of ownership brought about that Sacred Grounds Cafe reopened with its official Grand (re)Opening on February 6. And along with the Cafe, so also reopened is the Gogh-Getters Art Gallery.

The Gogh-Getters have graced the walls of Sacred Grounds Cafe for 10 years and are ecstatic to have their home back. And they are celebrating their return with an exhibition of the works of Renee Raub-Ayers. Renee is a St. Louis area artist who works primarily in acrylics.

Due to COVID, there will not be the usual opening reception for this exhibit. With social distancing protocols in place for the Cafe, the exhibit will grace the walls through February 20.

Gogh-Getters Gallery features local and national artists and was founded in 2011 by a group of four local artists: Kerry Smith, Steve Hartman, Jim Harper and Dave Thomas. Their philosophy: “Art is a record of our culture. Sharing and collaboration are part of its DNA. Our purpose is to encourage artists to create and share their work. Plus, we like to hang out. So, come join us and experience the best art our area has to offer.”

Now, more about Sacred Grounds. Kate Baumgartner says she is “exceptionally honored to provide the surrounding community with more than just sandwiches and coffee. Sacred Grounds is culture, friendship, belonging, safety and conversations (also really great food & drinks). It’s a space for love and laughter and longggg chess games. It’s for books and art and a 10-second coffee pause in a hectic week day.” With faith in the business and the community, Kate took the leap of faith to phoenix Sacred Grounds Café from the Covid ashes, pandemic or not. And, she says, the Gogh-Getters were a major part of her decision. “The Gogh-Getters were so helpful. Their knowledge was so important to the process, a real blessing.” Seems she just couldn’t let the Cafe go away.

Kate had been an ardent patron since she was 12 and especially during her SIUE days. She wanted to work there, to be around that kind of interesting people. Practically completed her undergrad degree at the tables there. Loved the “growth” conversations that helped shape her current ideologies about food and the importance of culture and community. “Owning a cafe has always been my end game and Sacred Grounds Cafe was the inspiration for it. The food and coffee is always great, but the community is what makes it special.”

And that community includes Gogh-Getters Art Gallery. Drop in anytime between February 6th and February 20th and take in the Renee Raub-Ayers art exhibition and all the wonderful smells and tastes of “fresh organic breakfast and lunch, plus specialty coffees served in a coffeehouse filled with local art.”

Sacred Grounds Cafe

233 North Main Street
Edwardsville, IL 62025

Gogh-Getters Gallery

Renee Raub-Ayers

Kerry Smith

Steve Hartman

Jim Harper

Dave Thomas

For even more on Gogh-Getters:

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