Danville Express

Perspective - November 9, 2007

Access to art

Danville has a gem downtown in the Pioneer Art Gallery, which opened a few weeks ago.

The gallery space on Hartz Avenue was a gift from developer Brad Blake, who is making it available to the Alamo Danville Artists' Society for six months while he finalizes plans to raze the structure and replace it with a state-of-the-art retail/office building. In return, the artists are giving him 10 percent of proceeds from sales, which Blake is donating to local causes.

Once Blake agreed it would be better for the building to house the artists than to sit vacant, ADAS members got to work, repainting the walls and installing track lighting to highlight their art. The spacious location is wonderful for displaying the pieces of the varied artists. Some also will be working in the studio space on the second floor.

The gallery is now open weekends and, thanks to its primo location and perhaps our beautiful fall weather, the place has a definite buzz with patrons wandering in while enjoying an evening downtown. This location makes it easy for casual visitors to check out the art and see what is new while downtown to enjoy a meal at one of the nearby restaurants.

The Pioneer Art Gallery was named after an early tenant of the building, the Valley Pioneer newspaper. The name is also appropriate because ADAS thought outside the box, so to speak, when it approached Brad Blake with its proposition for a temporary art gallery.

The group has been looking for a home since it left Blackhawk Plaza when its space was taken over by another store. Tracy Bauer, spokeswoman for ADAS, said they are seeing more foot traffic at this location than they ever did in Blackhawk. Hopefully builders will keep the artists in mind when looking for tenants to make downtown Danville a well-rounded destination.


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