Some say ghosts haunt Jerome.

You can grab a burger at Haunted Hamburger and there’s even a Haunted Tour of the town located just west of Cottonwood.

But Payson’s Mimi and Chuck Romberger hope to bring something new to this artist community with last week’s grand opening of House of Joy Art Gallery, in a 112-year-old building at 416 Hull Ave.

The work of Rim Country artists abound in the gallery.

“I’ve filled the old girl’s wall with many Payson artists, bringing a new spirit to Jerome,” Mimi said.

Mimi’s paintings and ceramics are on display, along with works by other Payson artists like oil paintings by Eastern Arizona Community College-Payson Dean Pam Butterfield; watercolors by Payson Art League President Bob Hershberger; ceramics by Barbara Zirinsky; EAC-Payson ceramics instructor Sarah Linkey McAnemy and Doug Lawrence; paintings by Roxanna and Suzy Almblade; along with silversmith Sandra Scott and metalsmith Carol Clark.

The gallery also features the latest oil painting by Bill Ahrendt and works by fellow Pine-Strawberry artists Pat Sessions (oil painting) and Nancy Bollard (fiber arts).

“The gem, I would say, is Bill Ahrendt’s latest painting,” Mimi said. “It’s exciting. It’s really beautiful.”

Also displayed are paintings by Jerome’s Robin Anderson and Jason Voss and by Paula Snyder from the Valley.

The 2,200-square-foot house is the oldest standing brothel in Arizona, according to Mimi. They live in the upstairs apartment.

The gallery features three rooms of art, including one housing arcade games with about 3,000 games and arcade-related art because Chuck and Mimi were pioneers in the arcade game industry.

“We have one with 2,500 games on a single box, another like a coffee table where you sit on either end with about 1,000 games and about five standup games and each of those have five or six games on them like Centipede and Asteroids,” Mimi said.

“All the games in the arcade room are free. We have a little bucket with all the money donated in that going to the Jerome Humane Society.”

She said the grand opening went well, and she’s optimistic about the future.

“We’re looking forward to this weekend,” she said on Thursday talking about June 6. “They have an art walk the first Saturday of every month and we’re on that art walk.”

House of Joy Art Gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Monday. They’re closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, at least for now. “That may change,” Mimi said of the days of operation. “We’re trying it out.”

For more information, call 916-235-6502, visit houseofjoyaz.com or their Facebook page listed as House of Joy Jerome.

Contact the reporter at kmorris@payson.com

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(1) comment

Randy Marsh

Be sure to visit Jerome! It is the best “Ghost Town” in the west. Long known as the wickedest town in the west.

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