New Main Street Art Gallery Now Open

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Inside the cheerful white house-turned-business at 703 W. Main St., the walls are filled with paintings and slants of sunlight pour through the windows, spotlighting sculpture and pottery, jewelry and handcarved wooden utensils.

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Sculptor Gail stands near her bronze piece, "Takin' it Easy," in the new Down the Street Gallery, set to open Friday.

The Down the Street Art Galley officially opened to the public at 11 a.m. today, Friday.

"I think Minette (Hart-Richardson) and Dan (Basinski) have spent the most time getting the gallery ready to open," said bronze sculptor Gail, who is one of the 11 artists who have work on display in the new gallery.

Down the Street's opening has been the dream of painter and former salon owner, Hart-Richardson, for a long time.

First on board with the project was her friend, former client, and creator of utensils from exotic hardwoods, Basinski.

Although Gail's bronzes are in galleries in Arizona and Colorado, this is the first time she has been involved one that is artist-run.

"Dan talked me into this and I still haven't figured out what he did or said to get me involved," Gail said.

She will be the gallery's host on Tuesdays and she hopes to continue to see Main Street expand with interesting shops to walk to and visit.

Gail currently has a bronze of a Northern Sioux woman and two bronze table-sized statues from her Western Women series in the gallery.

The natural laid-back sensuality of the women Gail has portrayed is immediately felt.

"All the Western Women (in the series) are alone," Gail said. "They don't know we are watching.

"If there is this sensuality it is just because they are being honest, not necessarily that they are supposed to be provocative, because in my mind they are not. In order to be provocative you have to have somebody else there."

Gail was always showing her friends how to draw horses. At one time, she thought she was a painter. That was before she discovered her talent for sculpture.

Now, she can even do the foundry work for her own pieces.

Unlike steel or iron, when bronze is oxidized, the resulting patina protects the metal. Bronze, made mostly of copper, has a range of colors from the turquoise of the cowgirl's shirt in "Takin' it Easy" to the green hue of the grass she is sitting on to light gold, black, copper, and reddish-browns.

Eight other artists are participating in the Down the Street art co-op. They are:

  • Patricia Allebrand, jeweler
  • Chris Reynolds, contemporary surrealist painter
  • Ann Locklier, painter
  • Gwen Storybead Zissler, beadwork artist
  • Teri Kennedy, painter and glass beads
  • Tim Hummer, silversmith
  • Geri Wood-Gittings, oil paintings and gourds
  • Helen Tennent, wheeled potter and clay sculptor

All the artists except Allebrand will be at the gallery's opening day.

"Here's my philosophy," Gail said. "If people like the work, that is when they want to know the artist. They don't care about the artist unless they care about the work. Also, if you get to know the artist, then you get to understand the work a little bit better."

Everyone is invited to stop in and meet the artists.

The gallery is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call (928) 468-6129.

-- To reach Carol La Valley call 474-5251 ext. 122 or e-mail

clavalley@payson.com.

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