Reid Street Gallery celebrates 2 years in Chatham

Reid Street Gallery Director Alisa Davis laughs with friends and gallery patrons Bill Black, Rachel Del Campo, Kathryn Gillespie, Kim Nicholson, and Susan Paynter.

On April 13, Reid Street Gallery in Chatham celebrated its two-year anniversary with food, wine, live music by Define Jazz, and art.

Gallery Director Alisa Davis said she envisioned the night to be a time for those who have benefited from the gallery over the years to come together and enjoy being together.

Members of the community have called Reid Street Gallery a kind of community center, a place to eat lunch, meet, and relax and a place to take classes, socialize, and better themselves.

Davis said, “To be honest, Reid Street Gallery has developed faster than I thought it would. We knew the main focus would be the gallery, the art, but I had ideas for other things on a five-year and 10-year plan. Everything that I thought we’d be doing within five years we’re already doing now, just two years in. We’ve got this kitchen; we’ve got the classes and the gift shop.”

Davis attributed the success to community response and regional partnerships.

“Anybody that knows me knows that I’m a promoter of the area. The more we promote each other and work collaboratively, the better it will be for everybody,” she said.

“Regional” is not just a business model, but also a theme at the gallery. Paintings, books, and logos displayed and sold have featured local landmarks and subjects.

“When we first started, I said, ‘If this is going to work, we’re going to first need the surrounding areas of Martinsville, Lynchburg, Caswell County, and the (Smith Mountain) Lake to buy in and invest in the gallery; second is Chatham Hall and Hargrave Military Academy; because these are all people with disposable income from outside the area.’ Our goal was always to be regional and frankly, I don’t think we could be successful without it.”

Chatham Hall, Hargrave, and their members have held private parties, graduation gatherings, prospective students weekends, and alumni association meetings.

“People come into the space and seem to be inspired by the space. They take it home and have it be part of their life, not just for the moment,” she said.

“We’re to the point now in our second year that people are coming to us.” said Davis. “I’ve had ideas and I continue to have ideas, but a lot of what makes Reid Street Gallery is community driven. People are making suggestions, but they’re also buying in and attending the events.”

Writing composition, calligraphy, and music are all examples of art beyond painting that Davis said the gallery has embraced. “It’s all about being open and flexible to whatever may come,” she said.

Summer things with Boys and Girls Club; displaying Pittsylvania County Schools art contestant entries before moving them to their current location at the PCS Central Office; Art After School on Wednesdays; and lecture series are all offerings previously provided by Reid Street Gallery.

“We hope to do more stuff like that to fill the gaps and reach those that may normally not be exposed to art,” said Davis.

“A big part of community success is due to our great partnerships with Chatham First, the Chatham Rotary Club, and other groups that have come in and asked us to help them do things like with History United. Those sort of partnerships have been really the foundation for that,” she said.

As the weather warms the outside, the spacious wooden building that is Reid Street Gallery remains cool, classes and events will increase to multiple times a day, mornings and evenings.

Reid Street Gallery is located at 24 Reid Street, Chatham, 24531; 434-203-8062; adavis@reidstreetgallery.com.

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