The gallery, located at 87 N. Main Street, was first offered as a space for artists during Plein Air Moab, according to board member Sandi Snead. “It was offered by Sena Hauer as an extra exhibition space,” Snead said.
Without anyone lined up to lease the building, Hauer allowed the artists to continue using the space after the festival had ended.
“We kind of tried it out with fourteen local artists,” Snead said. “It just seemed like a fit.”
Eventually, the group formed a board.
“We figured we should take the idea and run with it,” Snead said.
At first, the group had planned to operate as a pop-up gallery.
“We’d show up here and there along Main Street, wherever there was a spot available,” she said.
In the middle of February, Snead and the other members of the board decided to look at the lease for the space they’d already been occupying for the past several months.
“We decided we had to try, so we made an offer thinking that there was no way they’d take it,” Snead said.
The offer was accepted, and in March the artists began quietly setting up their new gallery.
“We’ve had a month [of] trying to figure out how to operate a business,” Snead said.
Paige Holland, another board member and artist, said plans have come together quite well for the gallery.
“All of this energy just kind of started coalescing around it,” she said. “The timing was really good.”
Holland said that the group has also received a lot of help from many other local residents.
“I’m just really thrilled with how the community has rallied around us,” she said.
The group is limited to 20 artists at any given time. Snead said the artists currently sharing the space are all two-dimensional and three-dimensional artists. They all share the cost of rent and take two or three shifts each month to staff the gallery.
“We have two artists in the gallery at any given time,” Snead said. “One or both can paint while they’re there. We encourage it so that the art is happening live.”
Holland said the participating artists come from a variety of backgrounds, which has helped with the business side of the gallery.
“It’s one thing to have great artists, but we have a lot of artists who are really great at other things too,” she said.
The space is designed to serve as both a gallery and a sort of museum, Snead said.
“There are cool sitting areas where people can sit down and just kind of take it all in,” she said. “There’s a lot of great art.”
The gallery offers two types of memberships – a patron or artist membership, as well as an investor membership for members of the community. While Gallery Moab is currently at its maximum capacity of 20 participating artists, Snead said those interested in participating can have their names placed on a waiting list.
“We’d like to see a nice, healthy waiting list of artists who want to join,” Snead said.
Gallery Moab is currently open from 1 to 9 p.m. six days a week and closed on Tuesdays.