Arts Cooperative Looks to Form in Downtown Gallipolis

Members of GABCO.
Members of GABCO.

GALLIPOLIS – A group of local artists hope to strengthen both The Arts community and the downtown Gallipolis business district, by creating an Arts cooperative, named the Gallia Arts Benefit Co-operative.

Organizers Chuck Maxam and Carrie Napora are no strangers to the unique challenges artists face in rural areas.

Their hopes for the co-operative, called GABCO, is to provide artists, of all types, an area in which they can create without the distractions of everyday life. By locating GABCO in the downtown business district, they also plan to offer a variety of services, to not only serve the community as a whole, but also bring more traffic to the downtown area.

“Every community that has embraced The Arts has survived after a recession or depression,” said Maxam, who pointed to the revitalization of the Short North district in Columbus and Austin, Texas as examples. “Places that have embraced artists and The Arts have found a new inflow of business and a new form of commerce.”

The co-operative, which will provide member artists with a studio setting to create, is a much needed resource in Gallia County. Maxam said GABCO’s main goal is to build up artists and give them the opportunity to expose their work to the community.

“A lot of artists have difficulty working in their home. They aren’t motivated. There are too many distractions. They just don’t have the ability to produce their best work under those circumstances,” said Maxam. “We are looking to increase The Arts in the community and increase the interest in The Arts in the community.”

GABCO recently created several surveys, shared via their Facebook page, hoping to receive feedback from the community. Those surveys will be available through the end of March. There are three surveys: one for artists, one for community members and one for potential donors. The surveys will serve as a benchmark, to ensure they are moving in the right direction with GABCO.

“I think it’s really important for everybody to be on the same page and determine what we want,” said Napora. “This is everybody’s home for The Arts.”

Overall, GABCO will be an active artist studio and retail gallery space, governed by working artists selected to contribute artistic ventures to the cooperative and the community.

In addition to the studio and retail gallery space, GABCO also plans to be a service entity by providing a range of art classes for the general public and local schools, workshops for artists, and assist in the overall beautification of downtown Gallipolis through artistic collaborations.

For more information on GABCO, visit them on Facebook or email Maxam at justfiredceramicstudio@gmail.com.