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Truckee Gallery struggles for public interest

Sierra Countis
Sierra Sun

Truckee Gallery’s founders have high hopes that if you build it, they will come.

As the first artists’ cooperative gallery in town, Truckee Gallery opened its doors to the community last December with an overwhelming response, said gallery co-founder Mary Lou Cooper. But interest has dwindled, and now gallery backers are brainstorming fresh ideas in the hope that art lovers will come.

“We still need a lot more visitors,” Mary Lou Cooper said. “I don’t think people realize how beautiful this gallery is.”

Twenty-eight artists ” from painters to potters to sculptors ” have their work on display at the gallery, located in the Mountain Forge Complex on Industrial Way.

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The enthusiasm is there from the artists, Cooper said. But it’s getting the public’s patronage that has proven to be a challenge.

A tough-to-find location and no permanent business sign are two obstacles the gallery is dealing with, she said.

When visitors do find their way to the gallery the typical reaction is, “Huh, I didn’t know this was here,” said Don Cooper, who volunteers at the gallery.

People are pleasantly surprised to find a variety of art that appeals to the senses within the spacious building, Don Cooper said.

“We try to keep the work unique,” said Eileen Nagle, gallery co-founder on keeping local artists’ work featured in the gallery.

Truckee Gallery has 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.

All of the work on display at the gallery is for sale, with prices to accommodate any art lover’s budget, Nagle said.

Since opening last year, the gallery has been able to keep the walls filled with artwork, but Mary Lou Cooper said they have a few openings for new artists. Truckee Gallery features an artist-of-the-month exhibit to promote an artist’s work. Kings Beach resident and oil painter, Ron Oden, an oil painter from Kings Beach, is April’s featured artist, with a collection called “Expressions of Womanhood.” The gallery will host a reception for Oden on Saturday.

“He’s practically a genius in my mind,” said Mary Lou Cooper of Oden’s brightly-colored canvases and sculptural paintings of the female form.

This May, Oden will teach oil painting classes to the public, she said. The gallery intends to organize more art classes as it continues to establish itself. About 10 people enrolled in a watercolor painting class held in March, Mary Lou Cooper said.

Local students have taken field trip tours of the gallery with their art classes, visits that Mary Lou Cooper hopes will continue.

A drop-in art studio in the back of the gallery where artists work on their own pieces hasn’t attracted a following yet, she said.


 

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