Gallery celebrates and challenges

The Columbia Art Gallery has settled into its new space at 101 Fourth St., and it’s as inviting — or more so — than its former digs on Second Street.

The artwork on exhibit is a bit more crowded in the smaller space, but the high-ceilinged, well-lit gallery shows it off better.

“We have an incredible variety of original artwork displayed, nearly all of it from local artists,” said Bill Sturman, chairman of the gallery board. The December show includes both decorative and functional pieces, with prices ranging from $2 to $1,100, according to Sturman. Gift possibilities run the gamut from crafted cribbage boards to stained glass, from lamps and keepsake boxes to carved wooden mirrors.

The gallery hardly skipped a beat when it moved from its long-time home at 207 Second St. earlier this fall after losing its lease. The gallery’s monthly shows carried on and Sturman and the gallery board are well into planning for next year’s exhibits.

“The first two shows of the new year are ones that all local artists are invited to participate in,” Sturman said. The January show is entitled “Celebrate the Gorge,” and artists are asked to create pieces that depict or are inspired by the Gorge. Interested artists can pick up a response form at the gallery for submission by Dec. 20. Each artist may submit two works by Jan. 3. The opening reception for the show will be Jan. 9.

The February show is the “challenge show” for 2004 and carries the theme, “Lonely Hearts.” All artists wishing to enter this show will dip into a container of “lonely hearts” ads and blindly pick one. They will then create art in response to the ad.

“All mediums are welcome and your interpretation of the ad is the challenge,” Sturman said. Artists can pick up their ad until Dec. 24. The show will be hung on Feb. 3-4, with the opening reception scheduled for Feb. 6.

The Columbia Art Gallery is open every day until Christmas: Monday through Wednesday from noon to 5 p.m. and Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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