Artists at Work marks 20 years in business

ELKINS – You could feel the creativity as you walked into the Artists At Work gallery in downtown Elkins on Friday.

The gallery was celebrating its 20th anniversary, and visitors were greeted with a vibrant array of art on the walls and the shelves. Artists demonstrated and discussed their work with customers and one another.

Joy Cooper and, later, Michael Davis, two of the seven founding members of the cooperative, greeted visitors.

Davis, in reflecting on how the gallery began, said, “I think I wanted to start it to sell and show my own work along with trying new pieces out to get their reactions. We wanted to make art more visible and (a) part of the Elkins community, because art is and can be a big part of tourism in Elkins.”

Each artisan’s style helps inspire new creations by other members within the group.

Cooper said, “There are numerous jewelers and painters but they are all different.” She added, “I am awestruck by the creativity that we have here.”

The cooperative has 22 members now, and each pays dues of $36 a month, which helps cover utilities and rent. Cooper said, “We don’t hire anyone, we each work a day and a half per month.”

She added, “It is a great group that we have here.”

The 22 artisans produce fine art and crafts that include multiple types of paintings, photography, pottery, jewelry, wood crafts, fiber work and clothing. They keep 100 percent of the proceeds when they sell something.

Featured artisans in addition to Davis and Cooper are Ann Beardslee, basket maker and quilter; Wendy Clark, handweaver; Rick Clark, potter; Grey Darden, watercolor painter; and Emily Ede, quilter and


Also, Don Hall, oil painter; Kate Harward, potter; Leslie Henderson, basket maker; Christine Keller, carvings and Appalachian art; Joe McInroy, oil painter; Suzan Morgan, textile artist; Linda Walker-Roberts, watercolor painter; Pam Roberts, jeweler and painter; Jon and Lynn Rudloff, potters; Cynthia Sandeno, beadweaver and silversmith; Melinda Shafer, polymer sculpter; Linda Silva, fabric worker; Debbie Sorensen, photographer; Stuart Strong, woodturner; and Charlie Willett, woodworker.