Longtime gallery to close; final reception tonight

PORT ANGELES — After three decades of promoting local artists, the Waterfront Art Gallery is having its final reception tonight.

The cooperative gallery at 120 W. First St. will shut down at the end of this month, said February featured artist Linda Parcell, who is president of the gallery board.

“We were hanging on by a thread,” she said.

But the gallery’s 18 members decided earlier this week to close the space, a showcase for photography, jewelry, glasswork, paintings and sculpture.

This is the second weekend of the month, the time when downtown Port Angeles’ art galleries host receptions to bring artists and art lovers together, so the Waterfront Art Gallery will have one last party today from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres, beverages and music by guitarist Andy Karney.

Admission is free, and all art is marked down 30 percent.

“We’re just not making it,” said member artist Irene Loghry.

Members paid a $50 monthly fee to exhibit work at the Waterfront Art Gallery, and the art there wasn’t all high-end.

Prices range from $12 for Parcell’s jewelry to $390 for one of the more costly paintings.

Still, Loghry said, business got so slow that the cooperative couldn’t continue.

“We all love this gallery. Everybody feels bad about it,” she added.

Loghry, a painter, has lived in Port Angeles since 1954, so she’s seen wholesale changes in the downtown.

“We had J.C. Penney, Peoples [department store], Gottschalks. There were pharmacies downtown and hardware stores,” she said.

Gottschalks was among the last of the department stores to shutter in May 2009. Country Aire Natural Foods is preparing to open a greatly expanded grocery store in the long-vacant building at First and Oak streets.

“We’re inviting everyone to say goodbye to the gallery,” Parcell said.

“It’s a big deal to us. So come back one last time and say hi. Even if you’re not going to buy anything, give it a send-off.”

After tonight’s reception, the Waterfront Art Gallery will be open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays through Feb. 29.

________

Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3550 or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

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