1928 - Alderson High School - 1968



In Alderson, Co-Op Artisans Gallery a Model for Community
 (and Commercial Sustainability)

Terry Bartley - AmeriCorps VISTA Member

One of the downsides of turning entrepreneurship into a career can be a sense of isolation. This is especially true for working artists, who spend long hours in their workspace, alone, crafting art. But in the small town of Alderson they’ve found a way for their artists to be a part of a larger community.

The Alderson Artisans Gallery functions like a co-op. They have seven working artists that showcase their work, and also spend time working behind the counter, sweeping the floor, keeping the books or managing its social media pages. They also showcase the work of other local artists, that pay a slightly higher fee to be a part of the gallery.

The gallery was originally a project of Alderson Main Street, which provided funding for their first year of operation. Now the gallery is totally self-sufficient. And while they still refer to themselves as a “shoestring operation,” they manage to keep the lights on without outside funding.

They integrate themselves more deeply into the community through partnerships with the local schools. The gallery provides space to showcase the work of local students throughout the year. The member artisans also pass on their knowledge through the form of classes.

The actual gallery space features regular gallery fare, like paintings, photography and sculptures. But they also feature works that are distinctively ‘Alderson.’ These pieces range from woodwork and stained glass to hooked rugs and clothing.

Alderson Artisans Gallery demonstrates that working together can really create something incredible. They’ve created a place to showcase the culture of Alderson while providing an income to local artists.

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