First gallery: Art co-op turns 20

February 2015 Posted in Arts, Culture & History
Lunaria Gallery

Lunaria Gallery

By Brenna Wiegand

For some people, February means celebrating groundhogs, love, presidents and Oregon’s birthday.

For the artists at Lunaria, February means another anniversary. This February, Lunaria Gallery kicks off its 20th anniversary year with an invitational show of past and current members.

Twenty years ago, five artists got together with the idea of creating a space to display and sell their work in Silverton. Teresa Burgett, Theresa Sharrar, Ann Altman, Shannon Rice and Tonia Jenkins pooled their talents irst to open a small corner gallery in the Wild Iris Cafe, now O’Brien’s. As more artists joined the gallery, they found expanded quarters, moving a couple times before settling at 113 N. Water St.

Now Lunaria is a cooperative of 25 juried members who are featured one or two at a time in monthly shows. They staff and run all aspects of the gallery.

Founder Ann Altman’s most recent work is a large piece she designed and cut out of metal now gracing the extraordinarily blank wall as you come into the library. She hopes others like it half as much as she does.

Lunaria Gallery
2113 N. Water St., Silverton
20th Anniverary Show
Feb. 6 – March 2
Gallery hours 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily

Public artists’ reception First Friday
Feb. 6, 7 – 9 p.m.

“Lunaria has been a big part of my life,” Altman said. “It’s been a place where I show my best work and interact with the public and get to know people around town. It has grown and as a group the artwork represents a broad selection of quality art being created locally, with a special pride in continuing to get better.”

“We designed the business to operate in a slightly foolproof way and make it affordable for people to participate,” Teresa Burgett said. “The other goal was to have something happen in Silverton, so we started First Friday. At the time there was nothing going on.”

Lunaria Gallery co-founder Teresa Burgett, with her dog Lucy, will take part in the 20th anniversary show in February.

Lunaria Gallery co-founder Teresa Burgett, with her dog Lucy, will take part in the 20th anniversary show in February.

“Silverton has built a reputation as an artsy town and credit goes to Lunaria Gallery for inspiration and sustainability,” member Marilyn Krug said.

Ceramics artist and gallery bookkeeper Julie Huisman sales have increased steadily since the gallery opened and that last year showed a 24 percent increase.

“We see a lot of tourists from other areas,” Huisman said, “and I think a lot of them come from the (Oregon) Garden.”

“It’s pretty amazing as a co-op that it has lasted as long as it has,” Burgett said. “It started out with a really generous group of people whose intentions were to work as a group and one of the reasons it did succeed is because people were very supportive of each other.”

For the show Burgett is firing some ceramics, designing some wood sculptures and doing a painting based on a day at the dog park with her dog Lucy.

“My work’s all kind of silly and it really annoys some of the members,” Burgett said. “My bottom line is ‘Am I having fun?’ and if I’m not that’s when I quit.

“We started the co-op as an opportunity for people to just experiment and find out who they are as artists,” Burgett said. “I found out I like being silly about art – I like to say I’m sincere but not serious – because it’s fun and that’s who I am – and there is a place for that.”

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