"If you are looking for something truely spectacular to decorate your home with, wow your neighbors, or provide that special accent, odds are we have it, or we can get it."
WHAT IS YAK ARTS?
Yak Arts is a family owned and operated business which provides an eclectic collection that currently resides in Orleans, at a singular location of over 3000 square feet. The business has been providing customers on the Cape with curiosities, fine art, jewelery, and furniture for over 20 years.
'Yak Arts is more than just a retail space, it's a way of life'
The current location is a building which can be identified as the Yellow House of Orleans. Built in the 1840s it has a long history as a home and family property. As the owners we carry on that tradition by living on site as well as working here. The youngest daughter Heather spent the majority of her childhood growing up in this house. With our family mentality, on any given day you can expect to see one of us in the store.
Beyond the fact that we are inviting you into our home, our product selection is taken very personally. To sustain our immense collection we travel primarily to Asia and Europe, each item in our store carefully hand selected from one of our adventures. By traveling ourselves and importing directly from the artists there is no purer form of fair trade. This enables us to know our product, and our people. That means that it has a story behind it, we know the crafts people who made the item, and the materials that went into it or the history of the antique and where it was acquired.
THE LONG STORY - SHORT.
Yak Arts was established in 1978 by owner Robert Dalton. It began with large ambitions from a pushcart in Quincy Market, and slowly expanded to flea markets, colleges and malls. Even then the eclectic nature of the stands exhibited everything from watches and umbrellas to Nepali woodblock prints from Kathmandu. From there, the dream to took shape in the form of a small shop in Provincetown center. Over the years the business expanded to include stores in Newport, Provincetown, Rockport, Cambridge, Wellfleet, Eastham, and Orleans. Eventually it downsized to a singular location in Orleans, Ma and operates primarily as a destination store.
WHERE IS THE YAK?
Business names are important. We are on Cape Cod, surrounded by the ocean, fish, and sunny days. So where are we keeping this Yak? The Yak is at the core of how the business got started. Before the internet and cell phones were invented our owner Bob, traveled overland through Europe to India, hitchiking and on busses. There was no GPS or Google Maps to consult or confirm, half the time when you got to a new place the map was different and the people that lived there called it by a completely different name, or there was no map. He endend up going through the Khyber pass twice, on the way there and again, on the way back. When he returned to America, it was the Energy crisis. People could only drive cars every other day based off of their license plate number and only half of the street lights were on. So he tried to get a job in a factory, there must have been something wrong will all the different bosses he had. So, with the knowlege and perspective his trip had given him, he decided to go into business for himself. He bought a plane ticket and went to Kathmandu, Nepal. Where the Yak is an auspicious animal. At the time most international transactions were done in person with travelers cheques or with cash that would be changed into local currency. Bob needed a business name that would be difficult for someone to forage on cheques. He also thought it would be cool if he could be 'international'. At the time he was moving up in the world, he started by buying woodblock prints to sell at his pushcart in Quincy Market. It just so happened that there was a shop on 'Freak Street' in Kathmandu, called Yak Arts. He asked the owner if the man would mind if he copied the name and the man complied thinking it was quite flattering to have a corresponding store in America. Hence, in 1978 Yak Arts International was established. The Yak is in Nepal. Today we don't know if there is still a Yak Arts there, or if there is even a Freak Street, but perhaps.
Currently Yak Arts has established itself within a singluar 3,000 square foot location and destination in Orleans.
Constantly on the hunt for new treasures Robert is always on the move traveling far and wide to hand select and provide new stock. This truely a family owned and operated business, it is staffed primarily by two of his children eldest son Jack, and youngest daughter Heather, come in and say hello to one of us today!
VIDEO CREDIT: Al Rosenberg & Cape Connect Volunteer Staff
Published on May 26, 2015
A fun walk through hearing interesting stories while looking over a lot of cool stuff. Yak Arts is a family owned and operated business which provides an eclectic collection that currently resides in Orleans. The store features curiosities, fine art, jewelry, collectibles and furniture from across the world, with many items from Indonesia. Check out the sound of a didgeridoo from Bali!
If you have never been into Yak Arts before, take a look at the video to the left. Kindly provided by Cape Connect and host Al Rosenberg this 30 minute feature provides a brief glimpse at some of the more interesting things. As well a giving them a sense of context, as we stroll through. This feature was broadcast on the Cape Cod local channel 99.