First co-op art gallery to open in Truckee |

First co-op art gallery to open in Truckee

The walls are bare at Truckee Gallery, but not for long.

Construction of the new cooperative gallery is underway as artists prepare for the grand opening event today.

Truckee Gallery is the first cooperative gallery in town, said gallery co-founder Eileen Nagle. Twenty-five artists ” from painters to potters to sculptors ” will display their work at the gallery, located in the Mountain Forge Complex on Industrial Way.

A cooperative gallery is ideal for emerging local artists and established artists alike, said gallery co-founder Teresa Wik, because a cooperative provides a venue for sharing ideas, costs, opportunity and culture.

The concept for a working gallery came about during a discussion at a Women Empowering Women Association luncheon, Wik said.

“What we wanted was to have a studio space,” Wik said.

Everything seemed to happen quickly as the women developed a plan for their gallery project.

The group of four local women, which also includes co-founders Julee Jobe and Mary Lou Cooper, started looking for a building in October before they discovered an open warehouse space within Mountain Forge Complex in early November.

Since then, the founders and their husbands have been working day and night ” building walls, painting the concrete floor, finding artwork to fill empty walls ” to transform the enormous building into an inviting gallery. The opening of the gallery will give all four women, who are artists in various mediums, an opportunity to show their own artwork at the gallery.

Truckee Gallery has a gallery space for artists to display their work and studio spaces for works in progress. Each artist pays an initial fee of $100 and a monthly rent of $60 with an agreement to staff the gallery one day a month. The gallery is asking for a six-month commitment from artists to rent the space, Wik said.

So far the response from local artists has been outstanding, Cooper said, but they could still take a couple more acrylic painters or sculptors.

As soon as the space is up and running, the founders envision Truckee Gallery as a place where people can shop for art and meander around the studio, watching artists at work, Wik said.

Truckee Gallery is right next door to contemporary artist Carole Sesko’s studio. Joined by local artists Eve Werner and Sara Zimmerman, Sesko’s studio will host its opening, called Collaboration, on Thursday night as well.

“We’re really looking to get this area to be an artist district,” said Wik, who is planning on setting up her potter’s wheel and kiln in the gallery’s studio.

Cooper said she’d like to see a nearby restaurant built some time in the future as development in the Pioneer Commerce Center continues to increase.

But with only a matter of hours before Truckee Gallery’s debut, the founders are focused on the now. They have their work cut out for them to prepare the scene for tonight. A “hanging committee” of volunteers will help hang the dozens of paintings ” currently resting on the floor ” before the gallery welcomes people to the gala opening, Nagle said.

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