Lassoing local artists to the Art Collective at Jennings Station in Newburgh, Ind., Donna Roberts created an environment both kind and welcoming to artist and art patron alike. With its grand opening in early December 2012, Roberts plans to bring together artists on a regular basis to exhibit and sell their work.
Roberts’ husband, Dr. Michael Roberts, owns the building, and the 2,800 square foot space had been empty for three years. “It had been dark and empty down there,” Roberts says. “So I decided to brighten it up a bit, and decided to do it with arts and crafts.” Glass works, pottery, jewelry, woodcarvings, and watercolors — an entire spectrum of art available to ogle and buy. Brizaida Medina was one of more than a dozen artists at the open house, and is a Puerto Rican artist now living in Evansville who has showcased her work at Ivy Tech. “Her pieces go for hundreds here, but, back home where she is well-renown, they go for thousands,” Roberts says. Alissa Young of Newburgh sold her jewelry from JewelTones, and Anne Begely, the featured artist from Owensboro, Ky., completed a watercolor during the open house. “I want a community where people can get to know an artist and see them work,” Roberts says.
Roberts has established a low commission for artists displaying and selling at the Art Collective — 25 percent compared to the standard 30 to 35 percent — and part of that commission benefits the Pulmonary Fibrosis Partners, whose new headquarters are in the same building. Roberts plans to hold an event at least once a month where patrons can stroll in, enjoy wine and cheese, listen to music, and enjoy meeting artists.
Roberts wants to keep her gallery accessible to artists. “I’m looking into co-ops for artists to look over the place and sell things during regular hours,” she says, and has plenty of room for private studios and event rentals.
“A piece from somewhere you know by someone familiar is so much more personal and special than just buying something that catches your eye,” she says. But most of all, Roberts — who dabbles in crafting personalized picture frames and signs — knows how difficult art is, and hopes to keep the gallery colorful, affordable, and fun.
The Art Collective is having its next open house on Thursday, Feb. 7, from 5-8 p.m. Look for the Art Collective on Facebook, or see Jennings Station for yourself at 300 W. Jennings Station, Newburgh, Ind.