New Local Venue: Crossroads Guitars & Art Promises an Art Experience Like No Other


by Jane Stahl

Doug Nestler, owner of Crossroads Guitars & Art, a new space for art and artists, has had a vision and a lifetime dream of bringing the worlds of guitars and visual art together in a space where creativity blossoms.

“My wife and I moved to Gilbertsville a year ago from Red Hill where we’d lived for 25 years—determined to downsize. I brought a lot of music gear with me after 43 years selling musical instruments,” he explains. “But I’ve always had a passion to create a space as an intersection of creativity.

“I spent my early years on the Philadelphia club circuit as a rock and roll keyboard player but realized I couldn’t make a living as a live musician. Happily, I found a job where I could express my joy for music. At this stage of life, I wanted to combine guitars and art as a way to contribute to the community and my family and friends where all the arts could come together.”

In furthering this vision, Doug opened Crossroads Guitars & Art in November 2023, after a 10-month renovation period at 1041 East Philadelphia Avenue (Route 73) across from the Gilbertsville Shopping Center. “And while it’s true that we’re at the crossroads of Routes 73 and 100 and that I live on Cross Road, the name of the business is to brand ourselves as an intersection of the arts." 

“I spared no reasonable expense,” he offers, "to create a beautifully renovated space where students of all ages can learn to play guitar, ukulele, and piano; take vocal lessons; participate in workshops on a host of topics; stage a performance; purchase acoustic guitars, ukuleles, bluegrass instruments, cajons and percussion digital pianos, and music accessories; or just hang out with others who love music in a showroom that is like a huge living room—cozy and comfortable.” 

Four state-of-the-art music lesson rooms, sizeable group instruction area, and intimate “listening room” style stage accommodate private lessons, group instruction, workshops, seminars, and live music performances. Doug recommends taking the virtual tour of on the website

Another unique aspect of Crossroads Guitars & Art is offering space for visual artists. “Gallery Takeovers” in the sizable gallery room will host art exhibits that change every three weeks. Local artists; artists who have performed with celebrity bands like Jim Rinaldi, a rock artist; as well as family members are scheduled for openings through spring 2024.

“We’ll invite folks for art openings, offer wine and cheese as ways to ‘cross pollinate’ music and art in our area,” he adds. Doug’s son Derek creates digital art; wife Alejandra Palenque, a photographer, has brought over 20 rolls of film from time spent in Bolivia in 1986-1987 back to life for exhibition. 

An exhibit featuring three area artists--Karen Weber, Steve Fabian, and Russell Slocum--opened on January 15, 2024, and runs through February 15, 2024.  

Evan Cole serves as the Director of Art Programming in charge of booking artists for the gallery; scheduling seminars, workshops, classes, and teaching voice, percussion lessons.

“I didn’t plan to teach music,” he admits. “My plan was to become a movie star. I took theatre in college. I did some acting and played in wedding bands. I fell backwards into teaching while I was living in Boston and got hooked on Early Childhood Education which is all about music enrichment and fun.

“Activities for little kids in our ‘Tunes for Tots’ pop-in music classes for kids from birth to five-years-old involve dancing, clapping, singing, jamming with them along with musical instruments, shakers, games, and creative play build their confidence and comfort while ‘doing music’ and is so much fun. We had an especially good time during Halloween—costumes and all.

Classes for both children and seniors are tailored to each age group. Seniors have a chance to sing along to Broadway, classical, pop, and folk tunes during the History & Song programs. Evan and Doug look forward to staging performances, hiring more teachers, and widening their offerings, including all manner of art and artists enjoying the creative energy.

Doug and Evan had an auspicious beginning; they met in mid-May—totally coincidentally—at a barbershop during the building’s renovation. Doug had not yet begun to consider who would run the studio. But by June 1, Evan was hired. And since the Grand Opening in early November 2023, Crossroads Guitars & Art has had an enthusiastic welcome, enrolling lots of adult learners and greeting walk-ins on a regular basis. 

Doug is a man with a vision and high hopes. He’s a "go forth and do things, figure it out later” kind of leader—attracting creative spirits from all walks of life. You'll be inspired by his vision at Crossroads Guitars & Art.

The conversation with Doug and Evan from which this article was created can be found on the "B Inspired" podcast, available on your favorite podcast platform including Anchor FM, Spotify, Google, Castbox, Breaker, Overcast, Pocket Casts, and RadioPublic, and Apple.

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