A Letter From A Member Artist

“In the final hours of 2023, I’ve been…thinking back over this organization’s beginnings as a modest concept derived by artists who longed for a room downtown with walls where they could show and sell their art. There was no budget - no money, except the $20 bucks each exhibiting artist would ante up to pay the rent at the start of each new month.

Our first few meetings were hopeful, idealistic and not without many loud arguments. Some argued and left. Some grumbled. Some stayed—and instead of arguing—presented good ideas and creative solutions and did the work necessary to give the fragile organization life.

We were told that if we could keep ACGOW alive for five years, we probably had a viable organization that could thrive. Each new year the survivors would look at each other and count the years till we would reach number five. That year came and went, and we were still standing! We had a budget, a telephone and regular monthly opening receptions. Visitors were few and buyers scarce, but we celebrated every sale as though it were our own. Gradually we celebrated more and more!

Each year as I picked up the year-end budget and read the account of our financial situation, I was amazed once again that we were breathing, we were alive. This year of 2023 we are not only alive, we are setting records for numbers of sales, income totals and number of activities! Instead of bemoaning the lack of members (which we did for many years) we have been weighing the wisdom of capping our membership totals. Our number of daily visitors keeps rising, and the total number of people attending our openings is at a consistent high. And we sell!

ACGOW is thriving! Our plans for 2024 include brainstorming sessions on the long range future of our organization. We realize that we are a strong, maturing organization with a good chance of having a successful future for many years to come. I believe that most of the credit for that goes to the members—who share a common purpose, who work cooperatively to further the goals of the organization and who put aside any differences they might have for the benefit of all of us and our gallery.

As 2023 ends I think we should give ourselves a pat on the back for all the things we’ve done right, for all the solutions we have found and implemented, for all the unnecessary arguments we have avoided, for the kindnesses we have shown each other and encouragement we have given.

This is a time to remember and give thanks to all those who came before us and worked to get us where we are. All the presidents who have taken on the responsibilities of the entire  organization 24/7 for the term they served, the officers, who do the same less visibly, the hard working chairs of all the committees and those on the front lines who make it all happen. So many people have worked hard for us for thirty-one years, and many are working at present as evidenced by those who have spent a wealth of hours recently in a massive cleaning effort to assure that our gallery presents itself and our art in a clean, organized manner that reflects our pride in our gallery and our organization.

I am certainly proud of all of us who contribute our time, talents, creativity, and resources to make this organization work so well. Thank you you all. May ACGOW live long and continue to prosper! Happy New Year!