The Artists' Gallery History

Flagstaff Artists’ Gallery Celebrating 26 Years Downtown
by Joe Coyle

It was a typical July morning in Flagstaff back in 1992 when local artist Lindy Flynn and some of her friends sat on the floor and discussed the idea of establishing a local cooperative artists’ gallery. There was, after all, a nice location in the heart of the downtown historical district that just happened to be available, the price was right and all agreed that Flagstaff needed a place for local artists to display their work.

Thus was born what has become the best known gallery in Flagstaff, The Artists’ Gallery. Located in its original venue -- 17 N. San Francisco St. -- a half block north of historic Route 66, the gallery currently is home to 36 local artists. The media represented are as diverse as the artists, all of whom work shifts at the gallery and serve various functions in daily operations and maintenance.

Since its inception, over 200 local artists have been a part of the gallery. Many have since moved out of the area or simply changed venue. One of the real movers and shakers at the gallery was Pam Raskob, a talented jeweler who has since left the gallery. Her vitality and optimism set the tone for what feels to most artists associated with the gallery like one big happy family.

“Our artists have a great deal of say in how our gallery is run”, says Joni Pevarnik, the current gallery director. Indeed, Joni is always willing to listen to ideas and help make quick decisions in the daily operations. Because of the level of participation by the artists, The Artists’ Gallery remains a vibrant place to display and sell their work.

Oil and watercolor painters – some of them plein air painters who actually brave the elements and paint their scenes on site are well represented at the gallery. Outstanding photographers display their images gathered from all around the southwest with an emphasis on local venues. Creative and innovative jewelers, potters, glass workers, woodworkers, Native American metal smiths and unique textile artists also contribute to the gallery’s mixed media.

Some of the artists also display all-occasion cards with representations of their artwork making The Artists’ Gallery a great place where many locals dash in to grab a last-minute gift. Some of the gallery’s clientele have been regular customers for many years. Regular visitors include people from all around the world and every state in the union. Many say they make The Artists’ Gallery a must-do stop on their travels when anywhere near flagstaff.

This July marks the 26th year of operation for The Artists’ Gallery. While the artwork and many of the artists have changed since that typical July day in 1992, one thing remains constant – the gallery is a warm, friendly place to meet some very talented people, see and purchase some truly stunning, locally produced artwork and maybe bump into a friend or two.

So next time you’re in town – and most assuredly next First Friday, stop into the place that’s truly a gem in the center of the downtown historic district. Drop into The Artists’ Gallery and experience this unique spot for yourself.