Local Colors Celebrates 20 Years


It was not expected to last. But it did ‘ and now members of the Local Colors Artists’ Cooperative (www.local-colors.org) are celebrating their 20th anniversary on Friday, November 6, 2009 with a reception and refreshments including wine and hors d’oeuvres. The event is open and free to the public from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. at 121 Main Street, Gloucester, MA (978-283-3996). The members want to show their appreciation for the support that they have received over the last 20 years from local customers and the community. In addition, they also want to acknowledge the many national and international customers who have purchased Local Colors’ art by selecting an international theme for the occasion. The special anniversary exhibit will be on display from October 25 through November 13th.

With the coming of the cruise ships and an influx of tourists from around the country and world over the last several years, it became obvious that many Local Colors’ pieces have been hand-carried or shipped to places like California and the Mid-West as well as to such international locations as Japan, England, Brazil, Australia, Germany, France, and Italy to name a few. The members decided to celebrate their anniversary through creating new work of local and faraway people, places, cultures and nature. The new work includes stained glass, jewelry, photography, paintings, fiber art, tin art, pottery, ceramics and ‘surprise’ work by the members as members are encouraged to create work outside their usual medium.

Included in the celebration is a special window display dedicated to the celebration of the Mexican Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead (on November 1) which honors those that have gone before us. The window display includes the creation of typical Day of the Dead art and an authentic Mexican altar for the public to post their own words of recognition and celebration.

According to Donna Amero, the only remaining founding member and stained glass artist, the Cooperative began in the fall of 1989 by a group of friends who thought it might be fun and maybe even profitable to ‘set up shop’ for the holiday season. The group started in what is now Passports Restaurant on Main Street in Gloucester and through a little luck and a lot of determination continued far beyond that first holiday season. This is their third location on Main Street. A few members who have a long history with the Cooperative estimated that close to 200 local artists have shown their work at Cape Ann’s oldest cooperative over the last 20 years. Local Colors continues to look for, and recruit, new artists who want to display and sell their work as well as be part of the ‘cooperative’ experience.
Kathy Bucholska, a member for 19 years who creates ANI SOL jewelry, noted that the flow in membership is a good thing and keeps the cooperative always fresh and exciting. Although there are several members that have been there 8 years or more, many members come and go based on their artistic growth, personal change in circumstances or perhaps just realizing the entrepreneurial or ‘co-op’ experience is not for them. ‘It takes a special person to go with the flow of 15 to 20 artists all expressing their opinions of how things should work. It takes patience and tolerance, but it has paid off for me in sales, a permanent home to show my work and lasting friendships,’ says Bucholska.

More recent members have found the experience gained over the last 20 years beneficial to those joining now. According to Lois Hertzler, a photographer, “I am grateful to the original founding members whose vision provided an environment and opportunity for local artists to display our work. Local Colors has given me the opportunity to exhibit my work and grow as a photographer. As part of a cooperative community of artists of various media, we all share an enthusiasm for our individual craft, as well as appreciate and encourage each other. Being able to celebrate 20 years is a wonderful testimonial to our success as a cooperative.”

The current members on display for the anniversary celebration are Donna Amero (stained glass), Joan Bediz (pastels and paintings), Stephanie Bowens (knitting, fiber art), Kathy Bucholska (jewelry), Pat Doherty (painting), Bonnie Gray (painting), Debara Hafemann (watercolor, photography and sea glass), Lois Hertzler (photography), David Katz (photography), Bob Kulchuk (pottery, woodturning, fused glass), Lawrence Martin (painting), Ann Schlecht (beach stone jewelry), Sally Seamans (tin & art jewelry, mobiles), Jim Sousa (photography) and Virginia Townsend (ceramics and Nantucket basket weaving). Local Colors also has a wide selection of artistic greeting cards. Please join them to celebrate this very special event.