The Valley Banner, July 2, 2015
by Caleb M. Soptelean
McGAHEYSVlLLE - A bank has been transformed into an artists' gallery in Old Towne McGaheysville. The Stoney Run Artisans Gallery relocated from Massanutten's Hopkins Cabin to the historic Stonewall Bank in April. The gallery, which is located at 9945 McGaheysville Road, is owned by J.L. Hopkins Ill. "J.L. did an excellent job" renovating the early 1900s edifice, said Karen Arnold, a Massanutten photographer. "We're happy we can mix the old (building) with the new (artwork)," she said. "We're really pleased the local community embraced us." Arnold said quite a few local residents have stopped by and said they remember when the building was a Sheets grocery store.
Open Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the gallery offers works from seven artists, including pencil drawings, photography, jewelry, pottery, baskets, stained glass, greeting cards and antiques obtained from estate sales such as fabrics, small furniture, pillows and lamps. Visitors can still see the bank vault - now used for storage - along with an old-fashioned telephone booth that Hopkins installed. The gallery's phone (289-5132) is inside the booth.
Each of the gallery's seven artists volunteer at the gallery on a rotating basis, including three from Massanutten and two from Keezletown. One of the artists is Brenda Fairweather, 56, a Lacey Springs resident who has been a basket maker since 1988. ''I was a stay-at-home mom," she said, noting that she picked up basket-making because she was able to do it while watching her two children. She later took up pottery.
The artists invite the community to use the gallery. A book nook and free coffee are available at the iconic building. Sally Cureton is not an artist, but she helped bring the gallery from Massanutten to McGaheysville. "We are very excited to be able to present some of these artists who haven't been able to show for a couple of years (after the gallery lost its use of the Hopkins Cabin)," she said.
Arnold invites locals who have visited the gallery to come back.· "We're always changing," she said. "As soon as we sell something, we replace it with something different."
The gallery has applied to be a member of the newly forming Rockingham/Harrisonburg Artisan Trail and plans to host seasonal events, including an ice cream event in August. Cureton notes the gallery does not take consignments, but is looking to add a woodworker. For more information, call during business hours, go online at stoneyrungallery.com or check them out on Facebook.
On April 4, Stoney Run Artisans Gallery in McGaheysville officially opened its doors to showcase and sell the work of area artisans.
According to Sally Cureton, who runs the gallery and organized its opening, the artisans now housed at Stoney Run Artisans Gallery had previously hosted an art show in Massanutten for 10 years before leaving.
They put their things into storage, waiting for another gallery site to open up. The storefront that now houses the Stoney Run Artisans Gallery, which is located in the historic Stonewall Bank building and still boasts the original bank vault and a working public telephone booth, proved to be the perfect location.
Cureton said she thought the opening went well because it seemed everyone from the community stopped by at some point.
“They’ve all watched the building through its transition from being an antique store that was piled high to the ceiling with junk,” Cureton said. “They were very curious [about] what we’ve done inside, and we’ve gotten some lovely comments.”
Photographer Karen Arnold also helped Cureton make decisions and organize the gallery opening.
“She was like my right hand getting things done,” Cureton said. “She and her husband [Gary] have done a ton of work helping us get this all fixed up.”
Artisans at the gallery include Arnold, jewelry makers Suzanne Comeau and Terri Good, potter Brenda Fairweather, stained glass maker Barbara Camph and artist Tim Knicely.
In addition to the local artisans, Highland Interior Designs of Richmond has space inside the building where owner Sarah Upshur sells smaller items. These include antiques from estate sales, fabrics, small furniture, paintings, pillows and lamps.
Cureton said they are hoping to add a painter soon, as well.
When it comes to adding a new artist, Cureton said the gallery has no specific unified style, but the new addition must be approved by all the current artists.
“The [new artist] has to be able to fit in with what we already have,” Cureton said. “We don’t want to repeat, and we want a nice variety.”
The gallery does not take consignment and is staffed by volunteers, so all of the artists have to spend a certain number of hours per month working sales. And according to Cureton, many of the artists have worked together for a long time, so they’re all friends.
That means that any time someone comes in to the gallery, there will be one or more artists available with whom they can talk about all of the art.
Cureton said she wanted to make the gallery a place where the community would like to gather.
“We’ve tried to create an environment that would be conducive to people within the McGaheysville community, so they feel comfortable coming in and having a cup of coffee, sitting down and chatting with the artists,” she said.
The gallery boasts coffee and some books, so customers can come, sit down in the chairs and browse the gallery.
“If they want to come in and have a cup of coffee on us, you betcha that’s fine,” Cureton said. “There’s even a bench in the front if the husbands don’t want to shop.”
The gallery is open from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Cureton said the founders decided on these hours to accommodate vacationers who were in town and wanted a memento of their visit.
“When we were in Massanutten, a lot of our customers were timeshare visitors, so we would like to be able to continue to have their business,” Cureton said.
In particular, Knicely’s pencil drawings are popular with tourists.
“I know people every year who would come back and buy another of his drawings because they really enjoyed it,” Cureton said.
Cureton also hopes the weekend hours appeal to people along the U.S. 33 corridor from Penn Laird to Elkton who may not make it to McGaheysville often.
For more information, visit stoneyrungallery.com.
Contact Aleda Johnson at 574-6275 or firstname.lastname@example.org
9945 McGaheysville Rd
Phone: (540) 289-5132
Open: Fri., Sat., Sun.
10 am - 5 pm
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