When Purcellville residents Michael and Kim Oaks launched the nonprofit Discover Purcellville several years ago, their dream was to raise enough funds to eventually open a haven for the local arts community.
They wanted to take the success of the painted wine barrel auction three years ago, followed by the painted benches and painted love seats, and use the funds raised to open a gallery.
Combined with the vision of Oaks and Patterson, artist Anne Stine and web designer Dave Levinson have created Purcellville's first art gallery. Liz Jarvis, who represents the Purcellville Arts Council, has served as a consultant and advocate throughout the process of creating Purcellville Art Gallery.
About two months ago, several key pieces fell into place, Oaks said, including the availability of a historic former Texaco gas station on Main Street.
When the space opened up, Oaks saw its potential as a gallery and reached out to its owners, Lori and Bo Carlyle.
“Even though they had a lot of interest from other renters, they really worked with us and wanted us here,” Oaks told the Times-Mirror.
Levinson, who said he felt this was exactly the place they had been looking for, said he “almost cried” when they found out they got the 1,300-square-foot space.
“We always talked about being able to make this happen and when you have the resources and artists, we feel there is a pent up demand for culture here,” Levinson said.
Inside the bright eight rooms of the gallery are exhibit space, a gift shop and space for classrooms.
The co-founders of the project were surprised by an “army of volunteers” who jumped on board to help open the gallery in a short period of time, with about 40 people signed up in a week, according to Stine.
She said it is easy to volunteer for multiple jobs -- such as working in the gallery, marketing or hanging displays -- and the logistics can be automated online so it is easy to manage.
“We will put them to work, and we have a great system in place to make it happen,” she said.
The first call for artists produced more than 400 pieces of art from 56 artists, including jewelry and pottery. All western Loudoun artists are invited to participate in exhibiting at the gallery.
Every two months, an independent jury of people who reside outside Loudoun County will select the artists for the exhibits. Artists are able to bring in up to three pieces at a time. As artwork is sold, it is quickly replaced with a new piece.
“We are promoting a variety of artwork from emerging artists to well-established. The community here has embraced that. We are here to help grow opportunities for artists in the area and to foster the culture,” Stine said.
Classes will begin in the near future. Photographer Marion Esposito has signed up to host an adult photography class and plans to offer one for kids, as well.
Stine emphasized the gallery is designed to be a destination for shopping as well as viewing artwork. The gift shop sells jewelry, pottery and other gifts.
Music is also an integral part of the art scene, they said. Soon, there will be a piano placed outside and painted to match the new colorful exterior.
“We will carry local music for sale here as well,” Levinson said.
There will also be a dedicated wall for Very Special Arts, or VSA, students to show their work as well.
“We are very excited about giving that organization a place,” Stine said.
The gallery has been dedicated in memory of Jim “Doc” Wiley, who was a beloved member of the Purcellville community and long-time supporter of the arts. A small plaque honoring him sits by the front door.
Looking ahead, the Purcellville Artisan Tour will be held this year Nov. 2-3, and the gallery will be a stop on the tour.
“This is our second year for the Purcellville tour. It was so successful that we decided to do two days this year. Our mantra is history, culture and art makes a community and to have this much of a turnout already is a clear cut indication of the support here,” Jarvis said.
A grand opening celebration will be held Sept. 14 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. There will be live music, refreshments and artists will be on hand to discuss their work. More information can be found at purcellvilleartgallery.com.