(Photo courtesy of Artists’ Gallery Sunriver)
Artists’ Gallery Sunriver
Tucked in the heart of Sunriver, the Artists’ Gallery, founded by local residents Midge Thomas, Joe Glassford, Susan Harkness-Williams and Anita Lohman in 2010, had a goal of providing a venue for local artists to show their creations. Beyond their expectations, the co-op gallery has flourished into a working space for artists to create, teach and share their art with visitors from all over the world. We talked to current owners about this amazing, Central Oregon success story.
Who are the current owners of the gallery and what is their background?
Karla Proud (owned and operated six fine jewelry stores and a jewelry manufacturing company in Southern California, Hawaii and Tokyo, Japan for a span of 40 years. Closed her last store in 2005 and moved to Bend to ‘romance the Oregon Sunstone’, our state gem). Bonnie Junell (a retired executive vice president with Nordstrom stores in women’s apparel. Junell was a buyer for ten years, then worked for Nordstrom Corporate in merchandising. She returned to her love of art and was one of the original founders of Artists’ Gallery in Sunriver). Susan Harkness Williams (worked as an executive for Fortune 100 companies before moving to Sunriver full time in 2002. Harkness Williams is an original founder of the Artists’ Gallery).
Tell us about your gallery items and who your main clientele is.
There are 30 local Central Oregon artists represented in the gallery. We have a jury committee of six gallery members who vote on new artists joining the gallery. The jury evaluates quality of work, diversity of work and if there is a general fit, as this is an ‘art family’. The Gallery’s clientele are as diverse as the artists themselves. Locals from Central Oregon arrive year-round and enjoy sharing our Second Saturday receptions with the artists. The Artists’ Gallery ships all around the world as well as to our Pacific Northwest guests and collectors.
What type of community involvement does the Artists’ Gallery take part in?
In October of 2018, Artists’ Gallery will be working directly with the Sunriver Chamber of Commerce and First Interstate Bank to throw a big thank you locals party. They have all supported us for over ten years and it is [much]appreciated. With 30 artists, there is a preponderance of charity work that each gets involved with. The Sunriver Women’s Club and the Sunriver Music Festival are a few of several.
What would CBN readers like to know about the Artists’ Gallery?
We are a thriving group, brought together by our mutual love of art. The 30 local artists all have a part in the day to day running of the member gallery. Everyone works on a committee from hosting our Second Saturday Artist Receptions to general maintenance, ordering supplies, jury committee and scheduling artists in the gallery. Working together as a team — we’re stronger. The majority of our artists have been with us at least six years, and our core have been with us since 2010. Loyalty and teamwork, love of sharing our art all bonds us together.
What is new at the gallery this year?
[We offer] art classes (five per month) within the gallery and Second Saturday Art Events including artist demonstrations. The three new owners took over in January 2018. Since then, we’ve had capital investments [for interior work]giving it more of a gallery appearance. We’ve also updated our point of sale systems to include a barcoded inventory system.
What is the best thing about artists working and living in Central Oregon?
Central Oregon has such natural beauty, it is inspiring to all of the artists in the gallery. From photographers to painters to sculptors. It’s hard not to be inspired by the beauty. Many of the artists are outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy hiking, kayaking and skiing.