BOP by Kay Curtis

"BOP" by Kay Curtis,
gouache and India ink resist

"Chicken Star Gazing"
by Cynthia P-Houghton,
house paint on wood

Mama She Pot vase by Sally Geldard-Hewes

"Mama She Pot,"
by Sally Geldard-Hewes,
a high-fire stoneware, fully functional vase

Harmony Collective – Artist Gallery: An Extraordinary Unfolding

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now." – Goethe

There was no project team to call "we" and no agreement in the community that this was even possible. Nonetheless, Kay made a call to Bob Lyons, a downtown real estate agent and property manager.... He said he knew of the perfect space and would be in total alignment with the project, but a lot of work would have to be done to make that space ready.

Jake Grover, the maintenance supervisor, got his workers aligned to be ready by the first of October. The 1,600-square-foot space needed a new floor, and the walls required repair. The gallery would need a complete paint job. Installing track lighting would be essential for the artwork to be adequately seen.

As the project got started, it became obvious that the community was going beyond being helpful.

The process of gathering a team began....

Vermont Jazz Center by Zoe Colby

"Vermont Jazz Center" collage by Zoe Colby

Lucy Bergamini jumped in first with great enthusiasm and expertise. Then Gayle Weitz contributed her extraordinary experience and know-how. Diane Echlin was eager to replicate the experience of having a Gallery similar to one she had in North Carolina. Isabel Lenssen brought her calm, supportive presence to the fold. Including Kay Curtis, this group of five established all the guidelines, set up the lease, and initiated all the steps required to open a cooperative gallery.

The Collective was designed with each artist paying a one-time $200.00 membership fee and then $60.00 a month towards rent. The Gallery's commission is only 10% of sales. Most important, each artist gives 4 hours a week of time to keep the Gallery open 7 days. With a projected goal of 31 members, there would be many hands to contribute, and that will make it possible for the Collective to succeed.

Kay did most of the initial recruitment of artists. She had been talking with her creative colleagues about having a Coop Gallery for the last 20 years. It was easy to revisit these conversations. Some said "Yes," some "No," and some "Maybe later."

Once the Collective had keys to the space, pedestals for the 3D artists were designed. Cynthia P-Houghton and Ross Smart finished that construction task in record time. The group then began to envision how the space would work for 31 artists.

Diane began the laborious process of inputting information into the sales desk computer and began training artists to use the equipment—this will be an ongoing task.

Artists arrived with their work and chose spaces to exhibit it. Bios were written to acquaint the public with each artist's history.

Keene Carse stepped up to the daunting task of hand-producing gallery signage. HARMONY COLLECTIVE will eventually have three different signs to indicate its presence. The multitude of windows has already created a stir in the community. Members love the location and its access to convenient parking for the Gallery.

On October 8, the artists gathered to meet one another for the first time. On the 18th, a two-week soft opening began so the Collective could learn all the steps involved in managing a Gallery with artist members in charge.

Collective members have enjoyed the surprise and wonder of passers-by who have been delighted to see this newest addition to the art community in Brattleboro.

A few more artists are needed, so call Kay at (802) 258-7470 if you're interested, or email and set up a time to visit.

From 5 to 8 pm on November's First Friday Gallery Walk, the Collective is hosting its Grand Opening Gala. Do come see what "we" have created!

Open 10am-6pm Daily
49 Elliot Street, Brattleboro · 802-579-1501

Copyright 2019, Gallery Walk, Brattleboro, Vermont

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