Glenda Roark has a message for Rim Country seniors: it is never too late.
At 78, Roark took one of the biggest leaps of her life last year by opening The Art Nook, an art consortium.
She did it on faith buyers would cherish the work of local artists — most older adults — as much as she did. Afraid their work would stay hidden in studios, she gave them a platform to showcase their pieces, carrying much of the cost herself.
“I get asked all the time why I did this,” she said. “And I did it to help these artists.”
It was a risky move financially and emotionally. Roark manages the shop several days a week and only charges artists commission when pieces sell. She does not charge rent.
She cares for her husband, who has severe dementia, the rest of the time.
Both are taxing and often exhausting tasks, but she finds meaning and reward in both.
For Roark, the shop offers an escape from her everyday life as well as an outlet for her own feelings. Much of her work adorns the walls of the small, colorful shop next to La Sierra in the Swiss Village Shops on North Beeline Highway.
Her pieces are filled with bold, colorful stokes, abstract motifs and a certain busyness.
Like most of the artists here, Roark picked up the paint brush later in life. After owning several Hallmark shops, Roark decided to pursue her dream of painting. She moved to Montana, took art classes, but failed miserably.
She just couldn’t get what was in her head out onto the canvas. An artist friend eventually took her underwing and Roark found her way.
Soon Roark took up pottery, modern art, jewelry making and in her latest endeavor, wood carving.
Short and bubbly, Roark gushes about her wood pieces, holding each one up proudly, her latest a woodsy scene.
The only thing she delights in more is the other artists’ work. Over the towering bookcases of wares in The Nook, it is hard to keep track of Roark as she walks around, pointing out an artist’s landscapes, another’s modern acrylics and birdhouses from another.
Filled to the brim with work, Roark is still willing to take on more artists if they touch her heart. She has a soft spot for older artists, many of whom didn’t tap into their creative side, like herself, until much later in life.
She hopes the shop helps keep their dream alive. It is already working for her.
For information, call (928) 474-2963.