The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Brendan Relaford
For The Sentinel 

Art at the Chamber


Brendan Relaford

ART FOR SALE AT THE CHAMBER: Beth Poirier with one of her handwoven towels.

Tucked away in the Goldendale Chamber of Commerce building at 903 Broadway Street is an art gallery and gift shop that not many people know about.

In 2017, some 17 local artists got together to create Art at the Chamber, an organization whose goal is to support the Goldendale art community and offer their work for sale to the public in a gift shop. It opened with a holiday show at Christmas that year and has been open ever since. The group now has more than 30 participating members. Staffed by people who volunteer out of a love for art, the gift shop is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"About four times a year we bring in new art, rehang the works and hold an open house so the public can meet our artists," says painter Kathy Baldwin. "Our biggest event is at Christmas, when we collaborate with the other holiday craft bazaars in town to support art community events. We send out a flyer to cross-promote the bazaars and encourage people to visit all of them. In our Christmas bazaar, none of the craft items on sale cost more than $10."

The group asks the artists involved in the other bazaars to encourage customers to write their name and contact information on a popsicle stick topped by a sticker picturing a work of art. They then send the popsicle sticks to Art at the Chamber, who deposits them in a bowl of popcorn for a drawing at the group's artist reception. The winners of the drawing then choose from fifty wrapped gifts donated by artists, interested members of the community and local businesses.

Throughout the year, besides the hanging artwork on display, items on sale in the gift shop include greeting cards, prints, weavings and ceramics. Because the artists want to support agribusiness, they also offer jams, jellies, salsa, granola, dried fruit, spices, lavender products and lamb rub. Prices range from $1.50 to $1,800.

When The Sentinel visited the gift shop on May 2, weaver Beth Poirier was on hand to show us around. Poirier, who is also the group's bookkeeper, says, "As you might expect, we make the most sales at Christmas. Monthly sales vary, but overall we're doing pretty well." In April, sales amounted to nearly $500. The 14 artists who sold their work gave the Chamber of Commerce 15 percent of the sales price and kept the rest.

Poirier says that Art at the Chamber is now having a sign made that will better alert the people of Goldendale and visitors to their presence in the Chamber of Commerce building.


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