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Frisco Art Collective gallery ready for grand opening on Halloween

Art on display at the Frisco Art Collective gallery.
Photo from Frisco Art Collective

FRISCO — Like many artists, Jessica Johnson has been dreaming about getting her own place for a while but never thought it would come so quickly.

“It’s been a dream to have my own place, where you’re not carting your stuff to and fro setting up,” she said. “You can listen to whatever music you want, work or paint if you want, hang out if you want. … I thought it would happen when I was much older.”

If You Go

What: Frisco Art Collective grand opening
When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4-7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31
Where: 281 Main St. in Frisco

Late in September, after getting onto Craigslist for “the first time in two years,” she saw a small space on Frisco’s Main Street available for rent. It was affordable, and she figured there might be a few other artists who, like her, didn’t want to wait until they were older to get their own space to sell and display their artwork.

“I sent the message out to all my art tribe to find some people who were interested, and we jumped on it,” Johnson said.

On Sept. 21, she shared a post on Facebook and sent out an email to contacts she’d met doing the Third Thursday Art Night at HighSide Brewing, asking if anyone would be interesting in running a small gallery with her.

Priscilla Balderas didn’t waste any time responding.

“I messaged her within 15 minutes and was like, ‘Call me. I’m in. I don’t care what the details are or who else joins. I’m in!’” Balderas said.

Three others — Erika Donaghy, Erica Nicol and Rachel Waltman — soon followed. The group met together to discuss the possibility, and things took off quickly from there.

“We all met up, and (Johnson) said, ‘Do you all want to walk over and look at the space?’” Nicol said. “We all looked at it, and she said, ‘We kind of have to decide right now because they’re showing it to someone else tomorrow.’”

Within three days of responding to Johnson’s message, the group had formed the Frisco Art Collective, started working on building an online presence and had signed a lease that began Oct. 1.

Erika Donaghy, left, and Erica Nicol work on putting together a gallery display for the Frisco Art Collective on Oct. 11.
Photo from Frisco Art Collective

The group continues to work fast. The gallery’s grand opening is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 31 — just a month after they formed their partnership and signed a lease on the building.

“I think it helps that we are all independent businesswomen, and we are all enthusiastic about this,” Waltman said.

Aside from Nicol, each of the artists work additional jobs in addition to supporting themselves by selling their art. Three of them also are taking college classes. Each of them sees the gallery as not only a chance to showcase their art, but also to represent a rising generation of local artistic talent in Summit County.

“I think our hope is really to be that voice of the younger population who are here full time, who are working artists and bussing tables and doing all these other things,” Waltman said. “Hopefully, we can maybe inspire others to keep that artistic economy thriving in Summit County.”

While they hope to inspire local artists, one thing the group also has in common is the inspiration they feel from the region. Each artist has a different style and specialty, but the love of the High Country is consistently seen in their work.

“We do specialize in a love of Summit County,” Donaghy said. “We all have different mediums, but we all have our Summit County flair.”

That flair is also allowing them to intersperse their work throughout the gallery. Instead of having the space divided into sections, the artists’ work will be spread across the gallery.

Art on display at the Frisco Art Collective gallery.
Photo from Frisco Art Collective

“Everyone’s work will be interspersed, so everyone will get equal airtime,” Waltman said.

Johnson hopes that the unified theme, combined with different styles of work in close proximity to one another will make it easier for visitors to find “a piece of Summit County” to take home with them.

“That’s been the cool part of it, too, is that we all bring something to the table, so we’ve all been doing our own contributions to getting us up and running,” Johnson said.

For the grand opening Saturday, the gallery will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 4-7 p.m. After that, the gallery will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. More information can be found at FriscoArtCollective.com.


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