Open house to celebrate Arts Guild’s third anniversary

Audrey Caro

The Linn County Arts Guild is hosting an open house to celebrate the third anniversary of its Gifts & Gallery store.

Guild members were mindful to put the word “gift” before “gallery.”

“I think sometimes the word ‘gallery’ scares people away,” said guild president Terry Myers. “It’s not a stuffy old gallery, where things are priced so you can only look.”

At some galleries she can only walk through and admire the work because the prices are too high, she said.

“We like to have high-end art and crafts,” said guild member Freda Darby. “The more eclectic it is the more we like. We still price it for Lebanon, though.”

Guild members contribute a variety of work to sell in the store including paintings, jewelry, decorated eggs, wood work and Barbie clothes.

The guild started in 2009 to promote arts in the community, said member Gina Darby, Freda’s daughter.

The Darbys have been part of the Linn County Arts Guild from the beginning, along with Steve Rice and Marina Rosario.

Initially, the group did art walks, in which members’ art was displayed in stores in downtown Lebanon. Patrons had an opportunity to win a piece of art through a drawing at the end of the walk.

The Guild also had an annual Christmas store in November and December.

That expanded to the year-round store at the corner of Main Street and E. Ash Streets, staffed by guild members.

The store is in a building owned by the Odd Fellows.

“The Odd Fellows have worked with us to give decent rent,” Myers said. “That’s one of the major reasons we’re still here.”

They’ve also had some occasional benefactors to help pay utilities.

In their fourth year, the guild is hoping to expand some the offerings at the store and gallery.

They’re always looking for new vendors and hope people aren’t discouraged from submitting work similar to items they already carry.

There are four people who do jewelry, said Freda Darby, but each has her own style.

Myers said they’d like to increase the type and number of classes they offer.

Instructors do not have to be Arts Guild members.

While their focus is on offering these options for community members, the guild members enjoy taking the classes too.

Don Ross teaches an oil painting class at the gallery every month.

“He’s an excellent teacher,” Myers said. “You walk out of here with something you’re proud of even if you can’t paint. I’m living proof.”