We dug up this photo recently and wanted to pay homage to an early 2000’s Asbury pioneer. The chick in the photo is Michele Shaefer. Back in May of 2001 she opened Be Gallery in the space currently occupied by Shelter Home. Be was the stuff…of legend. Part art gallery, part hang out spot, part performance space. And an integral piece of downtown Asbury’s creative renaissance, then and now. Back then there wasn’t much happening here.

Next door to Be was Asbury Art owned by artist Brad Hoffer. Upstairs from Brad lived Dan Shotwell (owner of Best Carpet Cleaner in Town), who’s homemade VW Bus looked like it was driving out his second floor windows at night. Across the street was Allan & Suzi, Ocean Park Gallery and House of Modern Living. Further down Cookman was Sonny’s Southern Cuisine. Throw in a Chinese takeout restaurant and a shady barbershop and that was about all that was going on in downtown Asbury. What has happened since can be credited in part to these and other brave pioneers, artists, musicians and creative types of all sorts. Here’s to hoping the masses don’t fuck it up.

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