Marysville artists cooperative reincarnating
They came together with enthusiasm and a mission.
But without someone officially in charge to make decisions, the 34 artists who signed on to be part of an artist cooperative in Marysville were floundering.
"We went in with this hippie-dippy idea," said Lily Noonan, board president for the Yuba-Sutter Regional Arts Council, which manages the space in what was formerly a gift and home decor shop on D Street. "We had two months to put it together, and we said, 'Let's see how it works.'"
Last weekend, Gallery 34 in Marysville closed and now awaits reincarnation.
Noonan said she will act as creative director for Art-O-Culture, the venture's new name. That gallery, which will feature works of many of the same artists as Gallery 34, plus several new ones, is scheduled to open Dec. 1.
Participating artists will still pay a monthly fee to show their work, but will not have to take a monthly eight-hour shift manning the space, attend monthly meetings or participate on a co-op committee.
"That was not a way to run anything," Noonan said. "We never even got a sign out front because we couldn't collectively agree on a logo."
The gallery space will no longer be meted out in 8-foot artist installment areas either — a fact that Noonan said will make the place "a lot more visually stimulating."
Studio spaces still are leased out to artists in the upstairs quarters, and the building still hosts a number of arts-related groups and events related to the Arts Council.
The cavernous space between Fourth and Fifth streets was donated by its owner for use by the Arts Council a year ago.
Noonan and several other arts leaders called all the struggling painters, sculptors and other visual artists they knew, and on Dec. 5, the space opened to the public.
Many of the group's ventures have worked out well, Noonan said. But having artists work as store clerks was one of several less-than-effective ideas.
"Some have good interpersonal skills, others do not," she said.
But most importantly, the art wasn't selling.
"We sold $4,000 worth in seven months. That is not sustainable," she said.
And the "hippy-dippy" model underneath it all had to go.
"Communes don't work," she said, rolling her eyes. "They don't."
CONTACT Nancy Pasternack at email@example.com or 749-4781. Find her on Facebook at /ADnpasternack or on Twitter at @ADnpasternack.