There's a brand new gallery opening tonight in the heart of St. George, as dozens of artists will be part of the inaugural exhibition at Arrowhead Gallery ETC. Taking over the space where the Arrowhead Department Store used to call home and The Electric Theatre once housed live concerts, the new gallery will showcase Southern Utah Art Guild artists of multiple disciplines from around the Southern Utah area. Today we briefly chat with Jo Ann Merrill, one of the members of the Guild, about the new space and who will be on display. (All pictures courtesy of SAUG.
Jo Ann Merrill
Arrowhead Gallery ETC. on Facebook
Gavin: How did the idea for Arrowhead Gallery ETC. come about, and where did the name come from?
The city of St. George asked the Southern Utah Art Guild (SUAG) to help establish an art gallery for the newly renovated $3.1 million dollar Electric Theater Center (the “ETC”). The ETC consists of a theater and lobby that the public can rent to host movies and theatrical plays while the other portion of the Center consists of the Arrowhead Gallery and working artist studios. SUAG has grown in membership and now has close to 200 artists. ... The name of the gallery was selected and approved by the SUAG/Gallery Boards and the city of St. George and was named after a former tenant, the Arrowhead Department Store.
Gavin: What was the process like in choosing the artists who would be on display?
To be an artist with the gallery, you must first become a member of SUAG, complete an application and be juried in by art professors from Dixie State University. Because of SUAG’s strong commitment to the artist community, the city of St. George selected SUAG to establish an art gallery in the Electric Theater Center.
Gavin: What was it like converting the old venue into a brand new gallery?
Establishing and setting up a working co-op art gallery took a lot of hard work from the six gallery board members and various SUAG members. This included creating display panels/fixtures, obtaining gallery furniture and providing the gallery’s office with the internet, phone, credit card machine, and printers. Setup also involved choosing jurors, recruiting and selecting artists and adopting Gallery coop rules and procedures.
Gavin: Tell us about some of the artists you'll have on display at the inaugural opening.
Currently, we have approximately 25 artists in the Gallery, with plans to increase the total artists to 30-40. There are also seven working artist studios. The artists represent several artistic media that include painting, photography, ceramics, jewelry, decorative gourds and sculptures. The gallery is also establishing a working relationship with the Dixie State University Art Department where the gallery will host an art student each month. Artists in the gallery will rotate their space every 2-3 months in order that all artists will have the opportunity to showcase their work in different spaces in the gallery. During this time frame, we also plan to feature and display 2-3 artist’s work in the gallery’s two windows. Commitment to the gallery is for six months and after that period, all artists will be reviewed/juried again and allow new artists to join.
Gavin: What do you hope the new gallery will do for both St. George and the art community in general?
The gallery and the city of St. George would like to see the downtown district become an art destination. The downtown area now houses many wonderful galleries in a walkable area. Allan [Kaprow] and I have based many of our travel destinations by visiting other art galleries, and find St. George has some very wonderful galleries within a close proximity to each other. The St. George 3rd Friday Art Walk offers music and fantastic art. I would like to see more people attend this event as the area has much potential. There are many talented artists in the area.
Gavin: What do you have planned for the opening evening and what do you hope people will take away from the new gallery?
SUAG and the gallery will offer artist workshops in the Center’s downstairs training rooms. The next workshop will focus on landscape painting with renowned artist, Roland Lee, on Feb. 25 and 26.The gallery with its artists and in connection with its opening reception will be participating in the Arts to Zion tour. For the opening reception, refreshments will be provided by Twenty-Five Main restaurant and music will be provided by a local harpist and violinist. The reception will be Friday, Jan. 15, from 5-9 p.m. We hope to form a close relationship with the community and its residents by showing what local artists can do and accomplish. There is some form of art in everyone and by joining an organization such as SUAG a person can explore that opportunity within themselves and learn to appreciate many aspects of art.
Gavin: For those interested in having their art displayed in the gallery, what do they need to do?
If you are interested in joining SUAG and/or the gallery, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
. SUAG offers five themed events per year at the Red Cliff Gallery in St. George with a fee of $35 per year. The next themed event is “Winter in the Desert” scheduled for Feb. 5-25. Once a SUAG member you can complete a gallery application and be juried for approval. Gallery space is $35 for a 4-foot space and $50 for a 6-foot space. These nominal fees are very low compared to other cities/areas and it helps to establish new and emerging artists which is one of the main goals for the gallery and the City of St. George.
Gavin: What can we expect from yourself and Arrowhead Gallery Etc. over the rest of 2016?
Expectations for the gallery will only increase due to the enthusiasm of the artists and the community by offering these continued events and workshops. We hope you plan to participate in our growth.