The gallery, next to Mainstage, will be called the Eureka Springs Fine Art Gallery, according to Denise Ryan, who has been elected head of the endeavor. The other artists are Charles Pearce, Drew Gentle, Diana Harvey, Ernest Kilman, Larry Mansker, Barbara Robinson and John Robert Willer. All are good friends, Ryan said, and have been talking about doing something like this for years.
"The main reason is space," she said. "There's not enough gallery space in town. And a lot of us do large pieces that are hard to accommodate."
Ryan, a portrait and still life artist who teaches in Holiday Island, said it was her husband who saw the "for rent" sign on the building at 63 N. Main, most recently the home of Tony and Sarah Knight's Paper Odyssey store. Ryan said she ran down to check it out, and the others came and looked. It was an opportunity they couldn't pass up.
"We've been chasing walls all over town," said Kilman, a landscape painter.
There's also no gallery just for Eureka Springs artists, Ryan said -- most galleries also carry regional artists. By owning their own space, the artists will be able to choose pieces and showcase their work in the way they want, she said.
"It's for artists, by artists," Kilman said.
The group will probably take other work on consignment, Ryan said, including sculpture, jewelry and pottery. The only condition is that the artist live in Eureka Springs or the area.
"It's a true Eureka Springs gallery," Ryan said.
The artists started transforming the interior last Thursday, their first day of occupancy, by painting the walls, ceiling and floor. They are planning to have new lighting installed. The gallery will have a shop and space for an artist to work, Ryan said. The owners are aiming for a mid-August opening, she said.