Today, Riverside Artists Gallery can be found at 219 Second Street in downtown Marietta, but that was not always the case for our cooperatively-owned, fine art and fine craft gallery.
Since our opening in the spring of 1998, our gallery has shared environmental challenges with the rest of downtown Marietta, surviving two catastrophic floods and even a devastating fire. Our gallery has moved and grown, and moved again, and with each new location, we have expanded our gallery space and our studio classroom, enhancing the possibilities for art exhibits as well as the number and types of fine art, fine craft workshops, and social activities we have been able to offer to the community.
Even though the gallery’s locations have changed over the years, our commitment to displaying the work of local artists and responding to the artistic and cultural identity of Marietta has remained constant over the years.
Riverside Artists Gallery currently showcases the work of 12 regional artists who work in diverse media, including metal work, glass, photography, jewelry, wearable art, ceramics, sculpture, and various two dimensional art media (prints, watercolor, oil, collage, drawing, etc.), as well as a wide range of invited artists and consigning artists from the Ohio Valley area. Our membership is always evolving, and the gallery is always pleased to welcome new members and new consigning artists into the co-op.
Our current gallery membership includes artists whose work has been exhibited widely across the region and the state; however, a walk through the gallery will reveal how connected our artists are to this region, to its traditional crafts like glass and metal work, and to the natural environment, the rivers and forests, and to the shifting seasons, sights, and architecture of the city of Marietta. For many of our artists, it is this landscape and scenery, the traditions and the history, and the confluence of rivers as well as the confluence of this beautiful city of Marietta with this beautiful region of Southeastern Ohio and Ohio river valley, which shapes our identity and provides us with inspiration and motivation to translate our visual experience into artistic imagery.
The mission of Riverside Artists has always been to encourage and enhance appreciation of the arts in our local community through education, display, and sale of fine arts and crafts by regional artists. For 18 years we have remained committed to the mission and to this community, and we have maintained a cooperative spirit among member artists who practice their art in diverse media, but are united in the direction the gallery has taken.
Over the years, Riverside Artists Gallery has been guided by our mission to organize art-based fund raising events with local non-profit organizations such as the Local Food Pantry and the Washington County Humane Society. We have invited local artists to display work and we have coordinated visual arts and spoken word exhibits by connecting artists with local poets. Member artists and regional artists conduct a variety of art classes for adults, after school art programs and summer art camp for youngsters and teens, and our members participate in community-wide events and Marietta Main Street promotions. We have partnered with local foundations, including the Marietta Community Foundation and the Stanton W. Brock Art Discovery Grant to provide scholarships to art camp for the youth of our community as well as for cash awards for artistic excellence for local high school students during our annual high school art exhibit. With all these types of outreach, we hope we can be seen as a source of inspiration for the community, encouraging and supporting promising art students and local arts instructors, promoting their work and offering support.
Riverside Artists Gallery is proud to be local, and we are committed to keeping the downtown of Marietta a vital and lively place to visit. The identity of a place is more than just one shop or gallery. It is a collection of attractive shops, galleries, concert venues, and restaurants; it is the way that these venues connect to a particular geography; it is the connections people make, the memories people carry, and the images of life that are unique. Art can take those intangibles and make them tangible. We are grateful for the support of the community and for those who seek out our gallery to attend an opening or participate in classes, to collect the work of a particular artist, as well as for those who find our gallery for the first time and express delight in finding just the right work of art to beautify their home or to give to a loved one.
Our member artists consider it a privilege to participate in the cultural life of the City of Marietta and Washington County, as well as participate in creating good will and inspiration for all citizens of the region. We encourage all to support local businesses, and, as local artists and members of this truly unique community, we are encouraged that for over 18 years, this community has continued to show its support to local arts and creativity, and to the Riverside Artists Gallery. To see our current exhibit, to find out about upcoming art events, or to hear more about membership or consignment, stop into Riverside Artists Gallery, or find us on facebook or on the web at riversideartistsgallery.com, or call us at 740 376-0797.
This article was authored by Bonnie Proudfoot, Artist of Riverside Artists Gallery, located on Second Street in historic downtown Marietta.