March 4, 2016

Franklin County gallery gets new life

Leon Thompson

From left are Paule Gingras, Nancy Patch, Corliss Blakely and Natalie LaRocque - all on the board of directors for Artist In Residence, a cooperative art gallery that has moved to downtown St. Albans.

ST. ALBANS CITY — An old Franklin County art gallery is getting new life in downtown St. Albans.
In late February, contractors were busy inside the 1,200 square feet of commercial space at 10 S. Main St., where the Artist In Residence co-operative gallery will reopen on the cusp of spring.
For several years, the Artist In Residence gallery operated on a different Franklin County Main Street, in Enosburg Falls, but a “lack of membership” forced the gallery to close its doors in late 2015, according to Nancy Patch, the gallery’s executive director.
Patch and other board members regrouped, and when they saw the downtown St. Albans space last December, they knew the gallery had a new home.
“We hope to add to this downtown and continue to make it a destination for arts in St. Albans, Franklin County and beyond,” Patch said recently, while at the new Artist in Residence space with fellow board members Natalie LaRocque, Corliss Blakely and Paule Gingras — all working artists who will have work on display at Artist in Residence.
March 12 is the application deadline for all artists interested in joining Artist in Residence, and information is available on the group’s website (www.artistinresidencecoop.com). By the time works are juried and selected, 40 member artists’ works will be on display when the gallery opens in the first week of April.
As part of their $450 annual contract — payable in two installments — member artists must also work at the gallery six days a year, or pay $75 for any or all of those days, rather than work.
Artist in Residence gallery will also feature a handful of member artists at a monthly open house. The gallery will display 2D and 3D works of art from painters, sculptors, potters, jewelers, fiber artists, photographers and more.
Artist in Residence will be the first tenant at 10 S. Main St. since a manure truck smashed through its facade and through the other side in 2011.  Franklin County contractor Bob Langevin bought the building, renovated it and sold it to St. Albans City in 2015.
Patch said it’s exciting for the gallery to have the City of St. Albans as a landlord.
“The city has been very supportive of the idea for this gallery in St. Albans,” Patch said.
Downtown St. Albans is becoming somewhat of a hub for artists. When Artist in Residence opens in April, it will be sandwiched between two other galleries on Main Street: Just The Place (and The Grind café) and The Village Frame Shoppe. Other downtown restaurants and businesses are displaying local artists’ work, too.
“The City is extremely excited about Artist in Residence locating in this space,” said Marty Manahan, director of operations and business development for St. Albans City — and a former St. Albans mayor. “We had tremendous interest in the space, yet we wanted to make sure we brought in a business that would add diversity and bring additional foot traffic onto Main Street. Artist in Residence checked all the boxes.”

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