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Co-op artist gallery celebrates first anniversary

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Photo by Hank Lohmeyer Ella Kelly of Cedaredge is the featured artist of the month at ImpressionZ artists co-op gallery. Her art includes metal etching,, jewelry in metal, wood stone, turquoise, and spent shell casings. She is also a blacksmith at Pioneer

The ImpressionZ artists co-op gallery in Cedaredge is observing a first successful year in business.

During its first year, the gallery has expanded the art offerings exhibited for display, it has become a magnet and a center of promotions for the local arts community, and it is planning new ventures in outreach, marketing, workshops and instructions.

"We made it," said founding director Gretchen Atkinson of the first year milestone during the gallery's monthly artist reception on Nov. 4. "We are successful and we are making money, but not a lot. The best part is that local artists have a place now to display and sell their work."

Atkinson estimates there are 27 members in the artists' co-op gallery now. The group has been active in art promotions conducting monthly receptions and other events through the first year. Activities included participation in the Celebrate Cedaredge spring vendors' street fair. There was also a presence during AppleFest that included two-hours of table service at Annie's Pizzeria with business proceeds donated to the non-profit gallery. There was a plein air workshop recently as well.

Looking forward, the gallery is planning special events at its Main Street location during the Dec. 3 Parade of Lights activities.

There are a couple of other special activities being planned that will mix some partying with shopping for art. One is a Wish List and Wine gathering for ladies only. They will sample wines during a wine tasting event on Dec. 6 from 5 to 7 p.m. and complete a wish list for Christmas receiving. Then on the following Tuesday, Dec. 13, husbands are invited for a Bag It and Beer tasting event with the intent that the men will buy art their wives had put on their wish lists the previous week at the wine tasting.

The gallery is planning to host various art classes and workshops for select demographics of the community; i.e. retired, seniors, veterans, kids, etc. There is also an artists' forum on the first Tuesday each month at 10 a.m. where artists (professional, amateur and aspiring) gather for discussions and networking. The forums are open house events and all are welcome, gallery organizers say.

According to founding director Rae-Ada Ann Simmons, the gallery wants to expand its membership to include artists from the entire Western Slope.

Atkinson adds that there are also hopes of adding performing arts to the gallery's portfolio of artistic activities.

The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

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