On Friday evening, the Dirt Bean Gallery opened its doors and celebrated its grand opening.
Located at 102 Main Street in the former House of Style building, the gallery is the newest addition to downtown Marlinton and features a collection of work from both local and out-of-state artisans.
“It was better than I expected,” gallery owner Kristy Lanier said. “It was great. I was just in here scrubbing the paint off the floor at a quarter to five, and I was just trying to get the door open. But it’s been pretty good, and more people came than I thought.
“I just wanted to make sure we were open by tomorrow for the festival. That way – even though I’ll keep working to get more pieces and improve things – at least, with the door open by this weekend, people will know that it’s here.”
The gallery hosted 16 artists and a variety of paintings, sculptures and handcrafted wares.
“There are a lot of artists in here that we haven’t seen before,” Pocahontas Arts Council president Cynthia Gurreri said, “and that’s what we were hoping for.”
Fredricah Gardner, of Snowshoe, was one of the three-dimensional artists to have her piece featured in the gallery’s main showroom.
According to Gurreri, Gardner began welding in high school and crafted her piece – a dragon sculpture titled “Spike” – in her first year. Gardner’s work earned her first place in an art competition. From there, she advanced to Nationals but did not place.
Gardner is now a sophomore at West Virginia Wesleyan College.
The gallery consists of four rooms. The front room serves as the main gallery, where Lanier intends to keep the atmosphere calm and have a rotating collection of art. The side room is reserved for more permanent fixtures, such as Bet Curtis’ Silver Rush jewelry, but features other art, as well.
The back two rooms are reserved for the gallery’s various art classes in clay, glass and painting and the gallery’s kiln.
“We’re great supporters of Kristy,” one gallery-goer said. “I can’t think of any single person who’s tried harder to develop our downtown than she has.”
Dirt Bean Cafe will host a “Whimsical Tree” Paint Party Friday, October 9, at 6:30 p.m., led by Kristen LeCroy. The cost is $35 per person and includes all art supplies, one beverage and light snacks. The class size is limited, and pre-registration is required. To register, call the Dirt Bean at 304-799-4038.