Upcoming launch of Main Street art gallery 'Art on the Line' in Oroville

Daniel Klayton photo  The 49º North Artists organization works to get the Art on the Line Gallery ready for its opening, scheduled for May Festival weekend.
Daniel Klayton photo
The 49º North Artists organization works to get the Art on the Line Gallery ready for its opening, scheduled for May Festival weekend.

As winter begrudgingly departs the Okanogan and spring flowers start to bloom along hillsides and yards, a bright new face will be opening up along Oroville’s Main Street.

Beginning in May, 49º North Artists is launching a new art gallery in the building which formerly housed the Plaza Restaurant: the Art on the Line Galleries.

Locals might remember the Plaza Restaurant (AKA: Fao’s, Teddy Bear’s, Yo Yo’s) as not only a place to find delicious meals, but also as a place to hang out and enjoy a jovial, neighborly environment. The restaurant and lounge were as much a space of community connection as they were about food and drinks. And although the new art gallery won’t be serving up rib eyes or lobster, that same spirit of community connections will be alive and well again.

49º North Artists has already made artistic splashes in the Okanogan since the group’s inception a few years ago. From artistic displays in previously empty windows to pop-up weekend galleries, 49º North Artists has been bringing arts alive on Oroville’s Main Street. The group’s continued mission has been to highlight the breadth of artistic talent in the Okanogan Valley, while building an economically revitalizing reputation of Oroville as an arts destination.

The new art gallery will be a huge step forward in 49º North Artists’ efforts to create a sustainable arts market in Oroville. With the Plaza building generously being made available for the gallery, the artists group has access to a full 3,500 square feet of space to showcase professional local talent. Whereas last summer’s Art Happens! galleries were open only on Saturdays, the new gallery will be open a full six days a week, closed only on Mondays. 49º North Artists Board Member Karen Beaudette notes that the group realizes that to build serious momentum, the gallery needs to be available for the public to enjoy consistently and regularly – and the artists and volunteers are rising to the occasion.

The Art on the Line Galleries will feature two main display spaces. The first, along the Main-Street-facing front of the building, will feature a wide selection of artisan handiworks drawn from professional local talent; from woven-pine art and fiber art to glass sculptures and metalwork. The second space, in the large room behind the front gallery, will feature fine arts showcasing individual artists in the region. The first artist to be featured in the fine-arts gallery space will be Dan Hulphers, whose mesmerizing wood sculptures have been featured in several 49º North Artists programs over the years.

The new gallery won’t stop at just artisan handiworks and fine arts, though. To further create an inviting space for the public to enjoy, the gallery will also feature a coffee shop of sorts, stocked with premade snacks and beverages. Visitors will be able to enjoy their fare either at the cafe counter or relaxing at a table in an open seating area adjacent to the artisan gallery space.

The 49º North Artists community is hard at work getting the new gallery ready for the public. The doors will officially open first on May 12, in celebration of Oroville’s May Day. As the streets fill with May Day celebrants, Art on the Line Galleries will welcome visitors in for a relaxed tour through the professional artistry of the area.

Those looking to join 49º North Artists in bringing the new gallery to life can contact Karen Beaudette at 509-486-1590 or at 49NorthArtists@gmail.com.

If you have an event or program that you’d like covered in this column, you can email Daniel at Daniel.Klayton@gmail.com.