If it hasn’t been made evident by now, we love people here at AAT! We love hearing about their stories and passions for our community, but we also love hearing about what our fellow locals do and why they do it! For example, we have some wonderful neighbors who own/manager some fantastic local businesses and serve our town tremendously by doing so! This fact is why AAT has partnered up with our good friends at B3 Glass, to bring you all “Small Business Fridays!” Each week, we’ll feature a different, local small business and talk with its owner and hear about their journey, their business in general, as well as their heart for their customers and our city!
This week, we’re following up with Tess King, president of the Elko County Art Club. We say “follow up” because we’ve spoken to her before about her involvement in the community as an artist, which you can read here. However, in case you missed it, Tess has been involved with the club for three years and has acted as the president for the last year and a half for the organization and its over two-hundred members.
However, Tess’ leadership talents are not limited to the local gallery. For the past three years, she has also been involved with helping coordinate the ever-popular Art in the Park event.
Whether it’s through the art club gallery or Art in the Park, you can bet that Tess is the perfect person to speak with when it comes to reaching our community through the arts. Thank you for joining us again, Tess!
Can we start our conversation by learning some details about the ECAC? What’s some vital information we need to know about the non-profit organization?
“The club is an old Elko club that has been around since 1953. The artists would meet in their homes before finding a more formal setting in 1978. In 2006, a ceramic shop closed, and that space morphed into the current ECAC gallery where local artists can display their work.
“We have annual exhibits at the museum and for our scholarship program, which we display at the gallery. We also currently have nine local businesses where our artists are displayed, and then we rotate out each quarter. Each business donates to our scholarship program to award a senior that’s going into art at the college after high school.
“After I took over, I just wanted to make sure we were doing our daily routines and keeping our weekly and monthly classes going as they were before. However, we have seen a lot more attendance with them, especially in our kids class.”
Wonderful! Now, as we mentioned before, you have also been very involved with Art in the Park. What can you share with us about that event?
“After the club ended up getting the gallery space, they were looking for a way to pay for its rent. So, we started the annual event, Art in the Park. The booth spaces from our vendors, minus what we rent out from the park, is used to keep our gallery open the entire year.
“The event is a great venue to have for people to realize that art is actually a huge thing. There are so many different forms of art that can get exposure, from tie dye, metalwork, and even wood carvings. There are so many ways you can produce a piece of art, and I think this opens the eyes of the community who may not realize that. The event also helps the artists and vendors because this is how they can make a living out of doing something they love. We started with only ten of our twelve vendors, and last year we had over seventy-five; it gets bigger every year! I love seeing everybody come down and make connections with the artists.”
Tess, if people want to get involved in everything you’re doing with the club and Art in the Park, what would you recommend for them?
“I’m always looking for more teachers and projects we can do. We’re running on volunteers, so it can be tough finding help either in the club or for Art in the Park. I remember the first year I did the event, I was running around taking care of the trashes; it was fulfilling, but a lot of work! You don’t have to be an artist to be a part of our club and get involved. You can be a connoisseur or somebody who just wants to help in some way!”
Furthermore, if someone wants to become a member of the ECAC, what does that entail?
“Our membership is inexpensive; it’s twenty-five dollars a year. With your membership, you’re allowed to hang your work in the gallery and display in our exhibits (if you’re an artist), you get discounts on classes, booth space discounts at Art in the Park, and all the know-how of what we do here at the club! It helps us buy supplies and keep the doors open. It’s really nice to have the support from the community through those memberships.”
Thank you for sharing all that information with us, Tess! You and the club do so much for the art culture in our community! What would you say you’re the most passionate about when it comes to everything you oversee?
“I think I’m most passionate about the classes! Seeing somebody create a piece of art and be excited about it is fulfilling. I also love the gallery space; I love moving the pieces around and having people come in eager to see something new. Both of those things are why I enjoy being the gallery director so much.
“So, come and check it out! Come and take a class! Talk to us! If someone has an extra evening or Saturday morning to themselves and wants to do something productive, they should come to check it out! To be a part of this older organization is huge!”
Congratulations to the Elko County Art Club for winning the 2019 Mayor’s Art Award for Arts Educator!
Tess would like to thank her awesome team–
Ariane Dehm: Treasurer & Kids’ Teacher
Karie Denham: Secretary & Kids’ Teacher
Dave Patton: Vice President
Lynn Jasmine: Teacher
Tess would also like to give a shout out to the club’s honorary members-
Dave and Anne Patton
Glen Ellen Finley
Gary and Susanne Reese
If you would like more information about becoming a member of the club, simply click here: ECAC Membership
You can stay caught up on everything going on around here at AAT by checking out our “Stay Connected” page! Make sure you never miss a feature!
See you around, Elko!
Written by: Anthony Crosby
Edited by: Nadara Merrill