Downtown Stevens Point is home to a unique art gallery called Q Artists Cooperative.
Typical art galleries invite artists to display their work there, and the gallery then receives a percentage of any sales the artist makes. In a cooperative, every artist is part owner.
This cooperative business style allows Q Gallery to carry out its mission statement: to create art for the community and a community for artists.
The co-op has been open for nine years, and currently has 18 members, all of which are from the local area. Each member serves on the board of directors and has an equal say in how the gallery should operate.
Mary Ellen Pollock, Q Artists Cooperative’s founding member, is proud of the gallery’s success.
“We have been a really successful gallery when you think about what the economic climate has been over the last nine years,” Pollock said. “Through the last nine years, we’ve had a lot of support from the town. We sell a lot of art.”
Pollock explained that there are certain standards that need to be met in order for an artist to become part of the cooperative. One standard rule is that the gallery will not accept two artists who work in the same medium.
This rule encourages a wide variety of art to be represented in the gallery.
Pollock said there are print makers, oil painters, water colorists, furniture makers, ceramic artists and jewelry makers, just to name a few.
There are also responsibilities the artists involved must follow through on.
“It’s a requirement of membership that we have to support the gallery financially and in terms of operation. So you could conceivably be a member who pays more and works less for the upkeep,” Pollock said.
The gallery doesn’t have any employees, instead the artists all contribute their time to keep the gallery open Tuesday through Sunday every week.
In addition to normal operating hours, the gallery also hosts workshops. These are a great way for community members to learn directly from artists.
“Our members occasionally give workshops on whatever is their medium. We have Erin Prais-Hintz who does jewelry workshops. Kristie Cecil does painting workshops. I’m a print maker; I do print making workshops,” Pollock said.
“One of our newest members [Jessie Fritsch] is an encaustic painter, that’s painting with hot wax. She’s planning on doing a workshop,” Pollock said.
Q Artist Cooperative also welcomes help from volunteers and interns.
“We are always looking for the next intern. We have a wonderful intern right now, but for next year fall and winter we’re definitely wanting to find interns,” Pollock said.
Every eight weeks, all the artists gather together to switch out the art featured in the gallery, which is always followed by a celebration.
“Every time we have an opening, which is every eight weeks, we have a party… They’re lovely! We have pretty food and wine and music,” Pollock said.
The next opening event will be happening in March. For more information on the event, workshops or the artists can be found on their website: www.qartists.com.
Arts & Entertainment Section Editor