The building once housed a gift shop, liquor store and floral shop, separated into three rooms, and covered in orange and black shag carpet. The bathroom was the size of a clothes closet with a cold breeze blowing through the cracked toilet. But after the purchase and a cosmetic renovation, the Blue Mountain Artisan Guild has transformed Pomeroy’s 745 Main St. location into an art haven.
“It looks like an art gallery,” said Carol Smith, vice president of BMAG. “It’s still an old building, but it’s got character.”
BMAG, a nonprofit, will host its building’s grand opening Friday and Saturday.
A brick wall will display 8-week-long exhibits and a wallboard will display art submitted by any curious artisans. An education loft overlooks the gallery with a chairlift to bring pysically handicapped learners to classes, which include lessons on bronze, watercolor, oils, outdoor photography, knitting and crocheting.
BMAG has been around for four years, but has never had a permanent home until now.
“We had the building here, and we could use it,” said Mary Flerchinger, president of BMAG. “It just wasn’t finished.”
Flerchinger said they would host art classes in the park. Then, Smith said, if they wanted to display BMAG member art, they would travel to Clarkston to present it in the Valley Art Center. Now, their refurbished building is completely handicapped accessible, too.
“It’s an actual physical place for us,” Flerchinger said. “We hope to have more centralized classes and stability.”
Children’s classes are free, except for some materials, and there is a discount for senior classes. Smith enjoys teaching the children’s classes, and said she has been teaching “for a million years,” or at least since 1956.
To be a member of BMAG, artists pay $20 per year. But Smith said you don’t have to be a BMAG member to share your art there.
“We will take anything,” she said.
The first of many 8-week-long exhibits will jump off with “Pioneer/Historical,” which will also be displayed at the grand opening. Art includes paintings of an old downtown courthouse, horses in a field — painted by Flerchinger — an old train station and a scenic landscape of the Pomeroy area.
As the only non-profit art service in Garfield County, Flerchinger said, BMAG is there to help people.
“One of the reasons we started up the Guild is so artisans of all skill levels would be able to show their work,” she said. “We charge no commission on artwork sold, so the artisan receives all the money.”
After the grand opening, hours will be 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
The grand opening — with refreshments served — will be 1-10 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, in conjunction with Pomeroy’s Pioneer Day and Tumbleweed Festival. The Tumbleweed parade starts down Main Street past the gallery at 10 a.m. Saturday. BMAG will be open Sunday by appointment only.
For information, Flerchinger said people can email bmagpomeroy-wacom.
“If the American flag is up,” Smith said, “the store is open.”
Treffry can be contacted at ltreffryinland360com or (208) 883-4640.
-If you go:
WHAT: Blue Mountain Artisan Guild grand opening
WHEN: 1-10 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: 745 Main St., Pomeroy, Wash.