Payson's West Main Street Becomes Artists' Haven

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Artists of the Rim, a new co-op gallery of 22 local artists on Main Street, had its first customer walk through the door last August.

Artists of the Rim Gallery is located at 408 W. Main St. in Payson.

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Most of the Rim Country's galleries feature works in media: oil, acrylic and watercolor paintings; pottery such as that pictured here; jewelry; sculpting; stained glass and more. A visit to the co-op galleries on Main Street, Artists of the Rim and Down the Street, will often net an encounter with one or more of the artists with work available for purchase.

Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays, and Wednesday through Saturday. They are also open Sundays from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Each of the 22 local artists show art in the gallery.

Customers can shop for art in a variety of media, including jewelry, pottery, fused glass creations, dinnerware, handmade cards, sculpture and furniture.

For ceramic artist Carolee Jackson, to finally have a local venue for her creative works means "success."

Since the gallery's grand opening in September, the venue has hosted artist receptions once a month, featuring a different local artist each time.

Roark envisions monthly art receptions, year-round.

Last spring, Roark said she wondered, "People build these huge mansions here and go to the Valley (to buy their art). Why?"

A scant three months later, on July 23, the co-op had a commitment from 22 artists to move forward with the gallery.

Since then, Roark and others have been hard at work.

"We put this together in three-and-a-half weeks," Roark said, gesturing expansively at the gallery.

"Its amazing to get 22 people to see one vision," Jackson said. "There has been no arguing, no negativity from anyone involved. It has been nothing but cohesiveness. Even though we are all diverse and different, here we are."

Opening of gallery a lifelong dream

Down the Street Gallery hosted its grand opening in April. Founder and artist Minette Richardson broke a champagne bottle on the business sign at 703 W. Main St. and the ship set sail.

"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.

Five artists were officially on board last fall when Richardson and Dan Basinski started planning the new gallery.

"We could have had a lot more artists," Richardson said.

"We have juried out more than we have juried in," Basinski said.

"We are keeping our standards high," Richardson said.

Now, Down the Street's 17 members represent a variety of media, offering a unique art experience to the Rim Country community and enlivening Main Street.

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

The 100-year-old Platt House once held her hair salon.

Now, the walls of the historic home 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 Tyler 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, Helen Tennent's pottery, Bower's gourds and fountains, Gittings' gourds and Dan Basinski's hand-carved ergonomic cooking utensils.

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