OAKHURST — After 34 years in business, eastern Madera County’s oldest established fine arts gallery is closing its doors.
The decision to shutter the popular Timberline Gallery was confirmed this week by Wendy Denton, president of Timberline’s board of directors.
“After much brainstorming and soul searching,” Denton stated, “it has become obvious that Timberline Gallery will have to close. Although in their hearts [all of the member artists] wish there were a way to keep it open, there is no viable way to make that happen at this point.”
The Timberline is located on Oakhurst’s Gallery Row at 40982 Highway 41, Suite 6.
Before the gallery opened, area artists had to display their work in local offices, banks and restaurants — and at the Yosemite Western Artists shows.
Seeing the need for a permanent gallery, on April 12, 1985, thirty local resident artists founded and incorporated as The Guild of Mountain Artists and have operated Timberline Gallery as a nonprofit co-op.
There are currently 18 member artists, ranging from sculptors and painters to fiber artists and photographers.
“The Timberline has been a very unique place for our area,” said Denton, a photographer. “The gallery has been a collaboration between the artist members, who have had to spend a certain amount of time each month working in the gallery. They even have to share in vacuuming the floors and cleaning the bathrooms.”
The Timberline provided member artists with an opportunity to display and sell their art work. The location also has served as an incubator for the arts and has attracted other fine arts galleries to Gallery Row, including Stavast Studio and Gallery, National Parks Art Center, Stellar Gallery, Gallery 5 and Williams Gallery West.
Over the years, Timberline Gallery has co-sponsored student art shows and student art projects with the local schools — and also cooperated extensively with other local nonprofits to enhance the cultural landscape of the mountain area community.
Denton said that while future plans for the 1,600-square-foot gallery space remain uncertain at the moment, she anticipates another gallery will eventually move in to the space.
In a release issued Monday announcing the going-out-of-business sale, Timberline members expressed their gratitude “for the long-standing support of Sierra News Online, the Yosemite Visitors Center, the Oakhurst Chamber of Commerce, and, of course, the members themselves.”
The Timberline artists have planned a final, in-gallery holiday sale for Nov. 29 through Dec. 14. The sale, according to Denton, will offer “amazing” discounts.
The gallery, according to Denton, will be closed to the public from Dec. 15 – 31 in order for fixtures to be sold and the gallery cleaned.
“Fortunately, the co-op members plan to continue Timberline online,” Denton added. “While we are closing the physical location, a vibrant website and Facebook page promoting the artists’ work will be maintained and updated regularly.”
The gallery is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information about the Timberline’s going-out-of-business sale, call the gallery at (559) 683-3345.