Art on 2nd opens in downtown Niles

Published 1:21 pm Friday, September 9, 2022

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NILES — A local nonprofit is teaming up with area artists to provide a new space to showcase their works.

Art on 2nd, located inside the River Essence Group Building at 211 Second St., Niles, opened its doors to the community last Friday, Aug. 2. Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, the gift shop is managed by Kim Vidt and features a variety of goods and art produced by 29 local artists and vendors. 

Each vendor donates $25 per month for space in the shop. That money goes directly toward funding REG.

The River Essence Group is a nonprofit organization founded to enhance the economic and social vitality of the Niles community. After spearheading the Sunflower Project downtown, River Essence Group President Vikki Jurgonski and her fellow group members believed the REG building, where the group conducts its meetings, would be an ideal place to house and sell artists’ products for them.

“We met so many phenomenal artists and knew there was a need for a space to showcase their talent,” Jurgonski said. “Working together we have created an Art co-op with local artists and have filled our shop with a variety of goods and art. It’s a neat way to take advantage of the building.”

Jurgonski said the REG plans to have the shop open until next year’s Hunter Ice Festival, when they will transition the space to host art classes before returning to its gift shop format in April.

“That will give our vendors some time to replenish their items,” she said.

Jurgonski hopes Art on 2nd will provide a welcoming environment for guests.

“When people come in, sometimes they just need a kind word,” she said. “It’s a very friendly atmosphere where people can feel free to just come down and enjoy themselves.”