More than 100 attend gallery opening

Published 7:35 am Monday, March 8, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- As the revival of the Niles Art Association continues to pick up steam, the group celebrated its largest event yet with the grand opening reception of its gallery on Sunday.
The reception took place from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday in the lobby of the Fisher Building, located at 306 E. Main St. in downtown Niles.
The event was a celebration of the art association's new found home in the Fisher Building. The gallery officially opened to the public in late January.
Waves of curious people stopped in and out to view the talents of our local artists.
By 3:30 p.m., Niles Art Association member Lucy Vanden Heede said the reception already had more than 100 visitors.
Kelly Fisher, co-owner of the building with her husband Brian, was surprised by the number of people who stopped in,
Niles Art Association vice president Patti Rose was also excited by the turnout and the support they having been getting from the Niles community.
A year and half ago, the art association re-established themselves with only five members. The group continues to grow and now has a membership nearing 40.
Niles Art Association president Hope Robinson was excited to see the rapid growth of the group.
The reception also featured refreshments and music from the New Apostolic Church String Academy.
A few members of the old Niles Art Association made a visit to the gallery and thought it was a great idea to bring the group back.
Kenny Albin, a former Niles Art Association president, said "it feels darn good. Niles needed something like this."
Albin, 80, said people usually have to travel to South Bend or St. Joseph to see art and is excited about the prospect of having art in Niles again.
His wife, Dorothy Albin, 78, was also a member of the old Niles Art Association and said groups like these can be a big help for artists trying to make names for themselves.
With the great response they have received thus far, Robinson said the group is continuing to plan more community events.
The art association would like to offer classes, workshops, new galleries and possibly even a local art supply shop.
The gallery in the Fisher Building will be changed every six to eight weeks and may even feature guest artists in the future.
The association will also be displaying their art in galleries at the Niles District Library and Fernwood Nature Center this summer.
The Niles Art Association holds their regular meetings on the first Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. in the Four Flags Area Chamber of Commerce meeting room.