Discover a cozy gallery in a historic brick building on a tree-lined street, richly filled with the work of member artists. Art on the Divide Gallery is a cooperative, whose members share the work of staffing and freshening the gallery. Works are added monthly, so you are always likely to find new cards, jewelry, and art works small and large to add to your own collection or for the pleasure of sharing as gifts.
When you stop by you will be greeted by an artist whose work is on display, and is also knowledgeable about the work of the other artists in the cooperative. The gallery is located in historic Georgetown, which is a lovely and quiet foothill drive of about 30 minutes from either Auburn or Placerville.
Once inside you will experience a spacious wood-paneled, brick- walled studio with high ceilings. In addition to track lights, lighting is provided by two bay windows and hanging lanterns that provide a warm, glowing ambiance. Two passageways filled with art lead to a rose garden used for workshops and social functions.
Fifteen to twenty local artists contribute their work, including gourds, pottery, glassware, photography, watercolors, oils, pastels, sculptures, stained glass, jewelry,wood art, and greeting cards. Most members live on the Georgetown Divide, in the small towns between the Middle and South Forks of the American River. This small but vital group has been providing local artists and students with a venue to display their work, as well as offering workshops, demonstrations, and art classes to students at the gallery and the Georgetown library.
“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”
a bit of history
Do you love creating your own art? We encourage artists in all mediums who want to grow their work while supporting their Georgetown Divide community to consider becoming part of our cooperative. Applications are available in the gallery, or you can download one here
The gallery was born thanks to a concept of Jan Rose, who worked to involve a core group of artists in the project. The energy and resources of that group provided the tipping point enabling the doors to open officially on a sunny day in June, 2010. More than 200 visitors enjoyed music by local musicians, food and beverages, and door prizes and the work of our local artists. The guests were also impressed with the charm of the wooden floors, bow-front windows and brick walls of the old building combined with new track lighting and handsome wooden pedestals crafted by Golden Sierra High School Regional Occupation Program students under the direction of the teacher Larry Hieberger.
Unbeknownst to visitors on that June day, they were in what had once been the second floor of the 19th century building. Down below in a dark and spooky basement were two sets of spider web-covered original iron front doors. Those doors once opened to the street, but were blocked sometime in the gold mining days by an embankment. The embankment had been placed, according to local historian Howard Hiemke, to prevent the whole town being leveled in the event mining explosives once stored in the building went off. Apparently a retaining wall was constructed, creating a sort of tunnel connecting the block of buildings behind the backfill, akin to the tunnels that exist below street level in Old Sacramento. Until it was blocked up, according to the stories, the tunnel was used by kids to nip booze from a liquor store.
Unconcerned about long gone explosives, visitors wandered outside to the rear of the building where they enjoyed the historic rose garden, planted by Michael Lengyel to honor his mother, Teresa Lengyel, who was the original librarian in the 19th century brick building that now houses the gallery.
What those casual attendees could not have been aware of was the time and energy expended by that initial core group that made that opening day possible. Jan Rose had to move on to other things in life, but Susan Polstra agreed to a partnership with Andrea Dodson to get the business part in order, Nettie Fox acted as Secretary, and huge amounts of energy and time were put in by Kristi Kolln, Penny Scribner, Jodi Reed, Doris Gorin, Kay de Lange, Chris McClellan, and Criss Raintree, not to mention associated husbands. A total of eighteen original coop members also paid initiation fees and monthly dues, and shared the work of staffing the gallery, keeping the books, the records and all the myriad chores of running an establishment.
Contributions from benefactors with an interest in supporting the arts were also an essential ingredient and some of those who helped significantly in the early days were Jan Rose, Susan Flynn, Betsy Aufdenkamp, Kathy Martin, Tom Gilchrist, and Marvin Berman. Lacking any one of these pieces of the puzzle would have meant that the gallery would never have happened, and one of the corner pieces of that puzzle was provided by the Divide Friends of the Arts and Historical Society (DFAHS), and its Treasurer, Jackie Morgan. DFAHS provided sponsorship for a $1,500 grant from the El Dorado Arts Council. That grant covered the paint, cabinets, lighting, etc. needed to get the doors open and provided the necessary financial cushion should membership fees slacken. Jerry Scribner did all the original legal work to put together the original partnership and without Susan Polstra and Andrea Dodson willing to shoulder the responsibility of such an arrangement it never would have happened.
In 2015 AODC and Divide Friends of the Arts (DFAHS) merged. The goal of DFAHS is to promote the arts and history of the Georgetown area. DFAHS also provides annual scholarships to graduates of Golden Sierra High School who plan to pursue a college major or minor in arts or history. Funds for the scholarship originally came from a fall sale of daffodil bulbs. Many of the daffodil bulbs donated to DFAHS are planted by them to brighten the hills and byways of the Divide. In addition to providing a stronger base of support for the overlapping goals of AODC and DFAHS, the merger also provided AODC with full non-profit status.
Art On the Divide Gallery Cooperative is grateful to many benefactors, who have been key in maintaining the presence of AODC on the Divide. Past major donors are Alan Johnston, Jan Rose, Betsy Aufdenkamp, and Penny Scribner. Benefactors are recognized by a plaque in the gallery. You will find the Gallery is at 6295 Main Street, between the fire station and the American River Inn. AODC welcomes inquiries from those interested in membership or becoming a benefactor. For more information, call 333-2787(ARTS).
The DFAHS Gallery Garden loves to be fed, trimmed, and enjoyed. With your support, we can make improvements and continue the restoration project.