The Town of Purcellville has its very own in-town art gallery—right off the main drag, nonetheless.
Discover Purcellville, a nonprofit organization that organizes and runs community events and raises money to support art-related projects, opened its 1,332-square-foot Purcellville Art Gallery off Main Street last Wednesday. It will display hundreds of pieces of art from more than 50 area artists during its first show, which will run until early October.
To commemorate the opening, the gallery—which was dedicated to the late Jim “Doc” Wiley, the founder of the town’s Arts Council—hosted an artist reception last Saturday for residents to come out, peruse the exhibit and meet the artists.
The gallery—founded by Michael Oaks, the nonprofit’s president; Anne Stine of Anne Stine Fine Art; and Dave Levinson, the founder of the Wicked Design website and logo creation company—has been in the making for more than five years.
Stine said that once the team found the location for the gallery, in the 100-year-old building that originally housed a Texaco gas station, they rolled up their sleeves and went to work. That was eight weeks ago. “It’s been nonstop work,” Oaks said.
Now, the gallery is full of paintings, sculptures and other artwork from western Loudoun artists—only those living between Leesburg and Bluemont and Lovettsville and Middleburg. One of those artists even grew up in the building, as her dad once ran the Texaco station.
Stine said the gallery won’t feature themed exhibitions, but will emphasize variety in art. She said the hundreds of pieces of work submitted for inclusion in the gallery were judged by a panel of artists from outside of Loudoun County and that once selected, it took about 20 volunteers three days to bring the art in and install it.
On the walls, there’s close to 500 paintings, with many other sculptures and other items for sale that range in price from $25 to $4,000.
Now, the team is assembling a group of volunteers to run the gallery for three-hour shifts once a month, with 60 residents already signed up. “It’s been unbelievable, the response,” Oaks said.
The call for artists for the gallery’s next two-month exhibit will be mid-August. Artists are allowed to submit up to three works.
Aside from the new gallery, the town and Discover Purcellville are doing all they can to put Purcellville on the artistic map, slowly transforming it into an art community that might one day rival Middleburg.
In July, Discover Purcellville saw the completion of a 29-by-9-foot “Welcome to Purcellville” mural in the downtown area, which it commissioned local artistAddie Moore to do.
The nonprofit also runs other art-related programs, one of which in 2016 saw local artists paint 34 wine barrels to place around town and auction off. That project raised $36,000 for charity and art programs.
And the Purcellville Arts Council annually presents a Leadership in the Arts Award, organizes the Cabin Fever Film Festival, hosts art exhibits at the town’s annual Music and Arts Festival and Wine and Food Festival and hosts an art lecture series.
The council also organizes art exhibits in the Town Hall for one to three months at a time, displays artwork in the Purcellville Train Station and displays quilts made by western Loudoun residents in the Town Council chambers.
Stine said the team isn’t trying to rival other art galleries in Middleburg, Round Hill or Leesburg, but just trying to add another art venue to the community. In fact, Levinson said the galleries would even cross-promote each other.
“The more the better,” Oaks said. “We’re trying to create Purcellville as an art community.”
Moving forward, they plan to place a piano in front of the gallery for residents to pull up and play at any time of day, host art fairs in back of the building, provide space for artists to teach classes, host talks and poetry slams and hold an official grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony with the town on Sept. 14.
Learn more about the Purcellville Art Gallery, or submit art for the next exhibit, at purcellvilleartgallery.com.