Down The Street Art Gallery To Launch Celebration

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Art lovers are invited to the official launching of a dream at Down the Street Gallery.

Just after 4 p.m. Friday, April 20, founder and artist Minette Richardson will break a champagne bottle on the business sign to start the celebration of the co-op gallery's grand opening.

"My father used to say, ‘If the floor is dirty, it has been a good day; a dirty floor means customers have been in'," Richardson said.

With its 17 members presenting a variety of media, Down the Street Gallery offers a unique art experience to the community and Main Street.

All 17 artists will be present for the launch.

Helen Tennent will be demonstrating with her pottery wheel.

Ink and graphite artist, Tyler Kilbourne will draw caricatures for a fee.

The public will have an opportunity to win a work from a participating artist.

Members of the Payson Community Orchestra will play during the evening.

Gallery ownership is a dream come true for founder Minette Richardson.

The 100-year-old Platt House once held the accoutrements and décor of a hair salon. Then, it was Minette's Place.

Now, the walls of the historic home turned gallery are covered with a variety of contemporary, realistic and abstract paintings and drawings by Richardson, Geri Gittings, Ene Locklier, April Bower, Chris Reynolds, Teri Kennedy, Angela Cockle, Pam Fandrich and Kilbourne.

The photography of Pia Wyer and the textile art of Mariska Stoddard also adorn the walls.

There are several cases of contemporary and Southwestern silver jewelry from Patricia Allebrand, Tim Hummer, Kennedy and Bower. There are intricate beaded necklaces and other items from Gwen Storybead.

Realistic sculptures by Gail, Tennent's pottery, Bower's gourds and fountains, Gittings' gourds and Dan Basinski's hand-carved ergonomic cooking utensils round out the three-dimensional art in the ‘out of the box' gallery.

The formation of Down the Street was a dream he didn't know he had for artisan and co-founder Basinski.

"A wave just happened by and I jumped on it," he said.

Basinski enjoys telling his friends who have retired from the assembly line in Michigan that he owns an art gallery.

Oil painter and jeweler Teri Kennedy has been in galleries on and off since she was 30, but this is her first cooperative gallery. She is looking forward to the Friday gala.

"I have done retail for so many years that I love to interact with the public and talk with people that are interested and ask questions about art," Kennedy said.

Even if the work is not Kennedy's own, her retail art background makes her knowledgeable and glad to answer basic questions.

"Working closely with this number of artists can be very interesting because each of us have such personality," she said.

That individualism lends itself to "animated, invigorating discussion" with many ideas "bouncing around the room," she said.

Although the personalities are abundant, creativity is where they find common ground.

"I think that is why people formed art colonies, years ago," Richardson said.

"The gallery is here, now it is up to us to provide the sizzle," she said.

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