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Calumet artists rally after Vertin Gallery closure

First Friday a popular draw

November 30, 2012
By KURT HAUGLIE - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

CALUMET - When the Vertin Gallery closed Nov. 9, some of the other owners of galleries in Calumet thought a void was created, but they're determined to keep the art scene vibrant in the village.

Tim Lyons, owner of the Vertin building, which housed the Vertin Gallery, closed it Nov. 9 due to "financial constraints."

Paige Wiard, owner of the Ziyad & Co. gallery on Fifth Street, said to allow people to get to know about the various galleries in Calumet, owners take part in First Friday events, which take place every month, even now that snow is on the ground.

Article Photos

Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette
Paige Wiard, owner of Ziyad & Co. art gallery on Fifth Street in Calumet, adjusts some of the items she has on display Thursday. Wiard’s place is one of the galleries in Calumet participating in First Friday, during which galleries and other businesses stay open later than usual so shoppers have a better chance of seeing what they have to offer.

"I just think there are a lot of people who don't know it goes on all winter," she said.

During First Friday, Wiard said gallery owners stay open longer than usual to allow people who otherwise might not get the chance to see what they have to offer.

Wiard said many people are aware of the art community in Calumet because of the Vertin Gallery, but there are other galleries offering a variety of art.

"I think it was a big draw, but I think there's a lot more opportunity for people to do their Christmas shopping," she said. "(First Friday) is a real nice community opportunity."

Wiard said traffic in her gallery on First Friday is good, and although sales might not be up that day, they are eventually.

"People will come in and walk around and look then come back (to make a purchase)," she said.

Wiard said Ziyad & Co. at 109 Fifth St. will be open from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Dec. 7.

Miriam Pickens, secretary and publicity coordinator for the Copper Country Associated Artists, located on Fifth Street, also, said the organization has a cooperative gallery, and members think First Friday is an important event for letting the public know about the works of local artists.

"It's absolutely critical," she said.

Pickens said the CCAA gallery is closed for the winter, except for First Friday.

"That's what we focus on for the winter," she said.

Although the members of the CCAA want to take part in First Friday, it's also something they do to keep their non-profit status.

"As a nonprofit (organization), we have to do something for the community," she said.

The closing of the Vertin Gallery was a blow to the art scene in Calumet, but Pickens said there is still plenty available in the village for those who care about art.

"People should recognize there are a lot of galleries along Fifth Street who will put out a lot for First Friday," she said. "We all do our best."

Pickens said the CCAA gallery at 205 Fifth Street will be open from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 7.

Tom Rudd, curator of Gallerie Boheme at 423 Fifth St., which opened a little more than a year ago, said the plan for the gallery was to close for the winter, but with the closing of the Vertin Gallery, the gallery will remain open during the winter, including Dec. 7.

Rudd said he agrees First Friday is needed for the art scene in Calumet, including the socializing opportunities it offers artists and those who appreciate art.

"I think it's an important event for the cultural aspect of art in Calumet," he said. "Most of the galleries present something new each Friday. It's nice to see new people come in."



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