Fresh Gallery, an artist-run gallery co-op, celebrates 10 years of operation in April.
"It began in 2009 when Jeanie Morris and former Springfield Regional Arts Council director, Sandra Smith, visualized the concept of an artist’s run cooperative gallery," says Alicia Farris. Farris is an original member, former gallery coordinator, and current Fresh artist.
The gallery opened its doors in April of 2009 as part of the Springfield Regional Arts Council's mission to encourage fine art in our area and provide a place for regional artists to display their art. Through the hard work and commitment of member artists and with the support of the Springfield Regional Arts Council, it has been a huge success.
Aptly named for its commitment to replacing at least 50% of the art on display with new work every two months, Fresh Gallery currently has 27 artist members who exhibit and handle the operations of this popular First Friday Art Walk venue. Many visitors note the wonderful feel of this historic location with its metal ceilings and original wood flooring. Some may recall that the west wall was once a drug store soda fountain. Now it displays paintings, collages, and photography.
As a co-operative, Fresh artists share in the expenses and responsibilities of running the gallery. Each artist works one day of the month, contributes a percentage of their sales back to the gallery, and pays monthly dues. In addition, artists serve on committees such as publicity, special events, and logistics.
The Springfield Regional Arts Council still provides oversight with accounting and administrative support. “Each artist brings their own set of creative skills to the gallery. You will find traditional and modern painting, jewelry, textiles, wood, ceramics, photography and glass arts. We have a variety unlike any gallery in town," boasts Rebecca Smith, Fresh’s current coordinator. “And the gallery membership is exploding with ideas for the future.” In the fall of 2018, Fresh added a pop-up gallery called Big Modern. Located just down the street at 204 S. Campbell, Big Modern is the dream child of Fresh artist, Nancy Brown Dornan. It focuses on oversized modern painting and sculpture which require larger display space. It is open on First Friday Art Walk, the 2nd Saturday of every month, and by appointment.
Throughout 2019 Fresh will be celebrating with a variety of events. A retrospective to celebrate past Fresh artist members will be on display in April. In May, Fresh will host its popular open Juried Show where area artists compete for prizes and the honor of a Fresh Gallery exhibit of their own. In September, the Photography Show & Competition takes center stage. These are but two of the annual events the gallery hosts to further the arts in our community.
Fresh Gallery is located at 400 W. Walnut and is open from 11:00am-6:00pmTuesday through Saturday, with extended hours 6:00-10:00 for First Friday Art Walk.