New show is Truckee Gallery’s last hurrah
The Truckee Gallery will feature the work of two artists of contrasting styles in a show that opens Friday night with a reception.
The exhibit showcases Grog Verbeck’s hand-chipped flint and obsidian sculptures and Carole Gegenheimer’s meticulous western paintings and still lifes.
Their work supplements the gallery’s large collection of paintings, ceramics and sculptures contributed by the 23 members of the artist guild that has run the gallery since last December.
Regardless of its success, the current show will be the gallery’s last hurrah, as its founders plan to close the Industrial Way facility on Nov. 25. Those closest to the gallery said the lack of foot traffic at the gallery’s industrial location was the key to the gallery’s financial woes.
Since its opening Dec. 7, the Truckee Gallery has offered Sierra artists a sense of community as well as an outlet for their best work. Located next door to the Carole Sesko Contemporary Art studio, the Truckee Gallery offered Truckee-Tahoe residents their own arts district over the past year.
But the enthusiasm of local art lovers was not enough to sustain the guild’s retail gallery.
“We’ve gotten a fabulous amount of interest,” said Eileen Nagle, one of the gallery and guild’s four founding members, in a phone interview Thursday. “People love coming to look at the art, but we’re also linked to the economy, and people are not buying art. We hate to close, but the timing is not right.”
Nagle said she and fellow founder Mary Lou Cooper plan to continue their work in their home studios. Another founding member, Teresa Wik, expects to open a her own ceramics studio on West River Drive, Nagle said.
Just one year ago, the founders put out a call for area artists to join a guild, and nearly two dozen signed up. The artists were asked to work a shift at the gallery once a month, and to serve on one of the guild’s several committees.
On Thursday, Ed Hallberg of Auburn, a retired university dean who now devotes his time to charcoals, mosaics and oil paintings, showed a visitor around the gallery’s expansive exhibit rooms. Hallberg said he was quick to embrace the guild’s goal to serve the area’s artistic community.
“There’s a lot of talent here,” Hallberg said. “Before it was a silent art community. Given a chance to emerge, the artists were willing to make a large commitment. It was very inspirational for the artists, very spiritual.”
Nagle said a few of the guild’s members remained committed to the artist cooperative even in the face of slow sales, because of the community it offered.
“We’re providing something to the artists, not just a venue to sell their art,” Nagle said. Among its resources, the gallery provided its members a pottery studio and workshops, and offered occasional classes.
Members of the guild have talked about establishing the Truckee Gallery as an online presence, featuring the work of each artist. Some members have also suggested affiliating with Sierra College once it opens its new Truckee campus.
Nagle said the guild has taken no action with regard to its future, but the members plan to meet and brainstorm about the possibilities.
Next door on Thursday afternoon, Sesko was preparing her next show, Party of Three, which opens on Dec. 7. Sesko described the Truckee Gallery as “wonderful neighbors” who had also become good friends.
“I felt honored to have been next door,” Sesko said. “I don’t feel the gallery was a failure. It was a great venture, and there will be benefits that come from it.”
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