Enosburg Falls Coop Art Gallery Facing Closure

Nov 28, 2015

An artists’ cooperative gallery is facing closure in Enosburg Falls because of declining membership.

The Artist In Residence Cooperative Gallery, or AIR, rose from the ashes of a fire that destroyed a huge portion of Enosburg Falls’ downtown in 2005. Since then AIR has served as a magnet for artists and buyers. The gallery, which is staffed by members and supported by their dues, once had a roster of 48. Over the past five years, that number has dwindled to 25. Board President Wayne Tarr says that’s unsustainable, and it’s too bad.

“It was a place where locals and tourists could stop in and find high quality art, photographs, painting, woodworking, pottery — again, high quality product — and it’s going to be gone or move somewhere else at this point,"  Tarr said. He says members have voted to close the gallery after Christmas.

AIR made a mark in the culture of Franklin County with a year-long community arts project, a collaboration with Enosburg Falls Historical Society and Enosburg Falls Conservation Commission. Artist members interviewed and photographed 28 local residents, which in turn inspired other artists to create a piece of art. The effort culminated in a book and a well attended event at the Enosburg Falls Opera House.

In a press release, AIR member Jo Anne Wazmy held out a thin sliver of hope for the gallery’s rebirth. “In 2005, the fire seemed to leave only devastation and destruction, but as we know, a unique fine art co-op rose from the ashes. Now, once again, things look bleak, but the artist members are optimists, open to new ideas and expert financial direction/backers. AIR members do not want to close the gallery. We are at the eleventh hour and seek new ideas and collaborations that might help us restructure and revitalize. We need a miracle in the coming week so that we do not have to take this drastic step,” she wrote.