Berryville has caught on to the economic development potential of the arts. On Jan. 9 Berryville Main Street (BMS) held a grand opening of the Fire House Gallery and Shop with wide-eyed enthusiasm. After all, this latest project is a new direction for the organization. The Fire House is a public-private project initiated by the Main Street organization with the added purpose to stimulate the arts as an economic revitalization tool.
The project transformed a historic 1930’s firehouse into the BMS headquarters and a unique, retail destination.
A special reception was held to recognize the donors who helped fund the project, which cost $75,000 with donations totaling $35,000. The following day offered the general public a grand opening. More than 200 visitors strolled into the gallery to view and purchase paintings, sculpture, ceramics, textiles and other fine art pieces from 30 local artists. Local author Belinda Sillar showcased her latest children’s book about her Jack Russell Terrier, Trouble, and offered a “paw-signing.”
The new headquarters location will be a resource destination for downtown supporters and provide valuable exposure to the revitalization organization. While the gallery will function much like any small gallery, mounting shows throughout the year that focus on a theme, medium, or artist, the primary goal is to bring more tourism, local traffic and ultimately revenue to downtown Berryville.