By Brandi Malarkey
TAP Partner and Community Contributor
The Arts Partnership has given Gallery 4 an opportunity to support local artists in a new and unique way.
Celebrating their 46th anniversary in October, Gallery 4, located in downtown Fargo, is the longest consecutive running artist owned cooperative gallery in the United States. “Premier” members are co-owners of the gallery and share the responsibilities for its operation.
Over the years the community has shifted, different artists have joined and left, and the gallery itself has changed locations multiple times. Through it all, Gallery 4’s mission statement has stayed constant: to support local art and artists.
A recent grant from The Arts Partnership has enabled Gallery 4 to create an Artist in Residency program for local artists. Artists selected for the residency program are given the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of being a Premier artist at the gallery, as well as get a firsthand view of the work that goes into keeping the gallery operational. Each residency lasts a total of three months, allowing for four separate residency opportunities over the course of the year.
“It really gives an artist a chance to see what joining a cooperative gallery entails,” says Marcy Dronen, one of Gallery 4’s Premier members. “Each resident receives space in the main gallery and the gift shop to display and sell their artwork and are included in all our marketing efforts. There is always an artist working the gallery; we each take turns. Resident artists are asked to work the gallery two days a month. They get to pick the days, and I encourage them to work with different artists each time. That way they get the experience of day-to-day operations but meet the variety of artists we have and get a broader experience of what each member contributes.”
Always an artist, Trudy is entering her seventh year teaching art in Ulen, Minn. “I always knew I wanted to be an art teacher,” Trudy states. “I am surrounded by art all day. It’s so cool to be inspired by young people learning. They inspire me to keep going, and stay engaged in making my own art.”
A talented painter, Trudy’s work varies with the season. In the warmer months, her work reflects the peace and happiness she finds in being outdoor with strong nature images.
“Oh, man, right now I am really into flowers,” Stubson said. “I go on a lot of hikes and take pictures of the flowers I see. I don’t mow my yard, so there is lots of clover. I try to capture moments that brought me hope, and when I am painting it, I get to relive it and soak it in.”
In the winter months, when going outside is less appealing, Stubson turns inward for her art, producing bright and bold works that lean toward the surreal.
“My style in the winter changes so drastically. When there aren’t as many outdoor activities to inspire me, I get stuck in my own head and paint from imagination. I get less nature-y and more whimsical.”
Finishing her tenure as the first Gallery 4 resident, Trudy is in full support of the program.
“It’s nice to meet the other artists. I didn’t really have a lot of interaction with other artists before. Now, I get to see how the business side works, how each artist does things, and what happens at the gallery throughout the day. Interacting with the people coming in, meeting the different types of people and learning what they are looking for. I was surprised at how many tourists come here, looking for small things they can purchase as mementos from their trip. Meeting the locals who come in seeming to know exactly what they want. Being able to wander around among the art. I notice new things every time and pick new favorites.
It really gives you an opportunity to see what the experience is like. It’s a bit of an investment. September will be a learning experience, seeing if working a couple times a month is something I can balance with my teaching schedule.”
“That’s exactly what the residency is about,” agrees Marcy. “It is so valuable to see firsthand what the experience is like. Joining a gallery is a large commitment. An opportunity isn’t an opportunity if it doesn’t suit you, or if it comes at the wrong time. This is a way for artists to see if this is a direction they want to go with their art practice.”
The community is encouraged to see Trudy’s work by visiting Gallery 4 at 115 Roberts St. N. Fargo, before October, when an as-yet-named artist will join the Gallery 4 Residency program. Her work can also be viewed on Facebook and Instagram.
About the Author
TAP partner and community content contributor Brandi Malarkey is a multi-disciplinary artist, writer, administrator, and occasional hot mess. She is a collector of dead bugs and good books, and a believer that ordinary miracles and small kindnesses have the power to change the world. Learn more about Brandi on her website: www.itsallmalarkey.com.