This Saturday, the sidewalks of Main Street Franklin will be filled with regional artists and craftsmen for the Uptown Gallery’s inaugural First Saturday — Art on Main event. Starting this Saturday, and continuing on the first Saturday of the month through October, local and regional artists are invited to line the sidewalks to celebrate the heritage and culture of western North Carolina.
“We want to make the community more aware of our presence and be able to help maintain our existence in the community in these poor economic times,” said Ruth Goodier, Uptown Gallery Director. “Hopefully, we can generate patrons and customers with our extended presence on Main Street.”
While the Art Saturdays on Main Street will present the perfect opportunity for local artisans to display their work, Uptown Gallery has a deeper interest in bringing awareness to the local art scene. After 52 years in business, the gallery is at risk of having to close its doors.
“Since the recession, we have had far fewer sales than before,” said Goodier. “Formerly we were able to maintain our position with the dues and percentage of sales commission generated by our members along with the percentage paid to the gallery by the artists presenting classes and workshops. These, along with our local and state grants and donations, were adequate to pay all of the gallery expenses. Over the past four years we have had to dig deep into our savings to maintain our gallery.”
The gallery is designed to be self-sustaining and utilizes as many cost saving measures as possible. “Since we have no paid positions all of our staffers and board donate time and energy to maintain the gallery,” said Goodier. “It is getting more difficult to meet the monthly demands of higher costs with far less income due to the slump in sales. Also the sources of our grants have become fewer. If we continue on this path without recovery or more sales and donations we will probably not be able to meet our commitments by the end of 2015. Incidentally, we are not a museum but a viable art gallery with extensive art produced by many of the very best artists in the area.”
By hosting monthly artisan shows along Main Street in Franklin, the gallery can not only draw people to local businesses, but they hope to revive the artist scene in the community. “We hope these four monthly shows will encourage local artists who are not involved in the Macon County Art Association to become active with it,” said Goodier.
So far, about a dozen local artists have signed up to display their artwork and participate in Saturday’s event. Plenty of spots are still available. All three parks in downtown Franklin have been reserved for artists to display their work. The event is casual and open to all mediums of art.
“It is the mission of the MCAA to promote visual art and art awareness through the gallery and classes and workshops,” said Goodier. “Being a non-profit organization in the community for 52 years , we hope we can continue to do this for many years in the future.”