I HEARD IT before I saw it.
A month before the gallery reopened I walked through and you could tell by the new layout of the building - the new walls that were designed to provide more room for hanging art, the shiny, polished concrete floor, the great new lighting - that this place was going to be some place special. Very special.
As I walked through I imagined I could already hear the friendly chatter of art lovers and friends, the clinking of glasses and plates and the smell of good food in the air.
It all came to pass in a big way on April 9, when we might guess all the stars were aligned perfectly, but in actuality there were lots and lots of volunteers working behind the scenes to make sure everything went just right.
From the very moment I entered the building on Thursday and saw the table decorations Margaret Hoerber and her helpers had laid out, I knew this would be a spectacular evening. Just take a look at the gorgeous floral arrangement and display of candies above. (Click on all the photos to see them in more detail.)
The new cabinetry designed and built by Greg Kreibel was painted inside with a rich persimmon color to set off the art and bright new spotlights shone down to highlight every detail of the artists' work. The sleek wooden tops of the cabinets provided a place for friends to stop and chat and rest an elbow or drink.
Delightful music was provided by Pacific University students who played soft jazz - on keyboard and guitar - that was just right in tempo and lent itself perfectly to the elegant background of artwork.
There was a short program with Pete Truax and Jerry Hoerber speaking and introducing the architects (and Bob Richards, who had volunteered to take on the gigantic task of general contractor) and thanking everyone who had contributed to getting the gallery ready for this event either with their energy and work or by their monetary contributions. Donations are still needed and appreciated! Here's Pete Truax in his white jacket.
After the official program the gallery seemed to expand and enlarge even more as it filled with friends eager to see each other and celebrate this new art destination for the city of Forest Grove and the whole of Washington County. There were very few in attendance who could get over the difference between the old gallery and the way it now looks. The changes that have been needed, and the improvements that have been desired, definitely met on this historic evening.
Classes are upcoming at Valley Art also and a list of them along with instructors' names and contact information are available on the gallery's Web site, valleyart.org.
Pottery classes, for children and adults, are offered, along with handiwork in quilting and hardanger embroidery, art journaling, stamping, pastels and a special off-site class by Barbara Hertel.
Looking in through the windows at Valley Art from the street, the display of artwork is rich and varied. An oil painting by Jan Shield in blues and golds, with geese flying, catches the eye - front and center.
It was a lot of work for everyone involved and the Valley Art volunteers and members can't be thanked enough for their contributions to the evening's success. Here is Nedra Hathaway, reception coordinator, at the front door toward the end of the evening.
The party went on until 8:30 p.m. and the grand reopening continues through April. Art in all media can be found and there is something for every taste and pocketbook, as this young customer found out when she discovered the perfect card to send a friend who has moved far away.
THE next big event in the gallery will be the May-June gallery show featuring artists Jane Aukshunas and Paul Rasmussen.
If you missed the grand reopening, don't despair. You can see the gallery 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and the May-June artists' reception will be Wednesday, May 6, from 5 to 8 p.m. The theme throughout Forest Grove will be "Arts and Flowers," so be on hand for another fun evening with plenty to see and do!