by Jody L. Miller, Equine Photographer and Member, Arts Prescott Cooperative Gallery
In the 1950s, the Arts Prescott Cooperative Gallery location was home to The Green Frog Café. You can even see some remnants of the name, as there is a frog logo on the back-alley sign and frog logos on some of the older publicity material.
The gallery has survived floods from incredibly powerful monsoon rivers running down the sidewalk of Whiskey Row. It has survived a close fire when the Bird Cage Saloon and several other businesses burned in 2012, and sadly, several deaths of artists and artists’ family members. Through all those disasters, the co-op still thrives. The sense of family among its members still continues. Arts
Prescott Cooperative Gallery was founded by a group of Prescott artists, who believed in themselves and in the ability of a small town to showcase quality arts and crafts made by local individuals. It was their dream to create something that they love in their own home studio, and then to have a local gallery where they could showcase it alongside other artists sharing the same vision.
The cooperative originally opened at 210 S. Montezuma. Within a year, the artists had outgrown their existing space. An opportunity to open the gallery in the middle of Whiskey Row came about, and the group jumped at the chance. A complete renovation of this new space was done in 1995. Keeping with the cooperative spirit, the individual artists worked together to tear down existing walls, cubicles (it was a real estate company), haul out old carpet and install new and paint the walls and ceiling. The remodel was funded by the artists, who were reimbursed as the gallery started to make money.
Since its formation in 1994, the gallery has been giving back to the Prescott community. Originally at the annual holiday show the artists would raffle off some of the original art and donate the raffle proceeds to a local charity. In more recent years, the cooperative members started holding an annual charity art show, in which each artist donates a piece of art to the show as well as collects donated art from the community. One-hundred percent of proceeds of all art sold during this charity show is donated directly to the chosen local charity. Recipients over the years have included health clinics, Yavapai Food Bank, United Animal Friends, Yarnell fire victims, Prescott Area Women’s Shelter, Hungry Kids, Skyview Charter School and in 2017, Bethany’s Gait Ranch.
A full spectrum of original art is available – painting, glass work, jewelry, photography, pottery, woodworking, basket weaving, print making and fabric weaving.
The gallery is still home to many of the original founding members. Newer members are constantly reminded of “how it used to be,” and welcome the incredible tales of the gallery in days past. Work is always fresh and exciting, and a visit to the gallery means meeting many of the artists themselves. This is what makes it so special when you come into the gallery – no matter how many times you have been, or if you attend an event they are hosting, you feel welcomed and appreciated for your interaction with the art all around you.
With 24 artists on site, temperament, creativity and imagination are never in short supply. Work is always changing, because each artist is directly responsible for the display of his or her own work.
Arts Prescott Cooperative Gallery is located at 134 S. Montezuma in the heart of Whiskey Row. Equine photographer, Jody L. Miller has been a member since 2009.
Visit artsprescott.com or jodylmiller.com, or stop on by 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. daily.