ST. ALBANS CITY – The Artist in Residence Gallery can officially call 10 South Main Street their “forever home” now that they’ve completed their capital drive and raised the money for a down payment to purchase the building from St. Albans City.

The gallery still has another $4,000 to raise for closing costs, but with a final donation coming across their desk early April, the gallery’s managed to raise the $29,000 needed for a down payment on the loan for buying the building.

“To me, it means stability,” said Artist in Residence’s president Paule Gingras. “We’re more anchored in this community.”

The gallery began their capital drive late last year and, over the span of a few months with a handful of fundraising events and more donations, they gradually closed the gap toward their $29,000 goal.

Finally, according to Gingras, an elderly man whose late wife was an artist made a final $5,000 donation and set the gallery’s capital drive beyond its goal. While Gingras wouldn’t give the man’s name, she did say that the gallery would be looking into holding a yearly event to honor his wife.

Most of the donations, however, were small, Gingras said, usually falling within the $50 to $300 range, with support coming from as far south as Burlington.

“I keep saying in every interview that this is your community gallery, and I think that message has really reached people from the looks of the support we’ve received,” Gingras said.

The gallery, which originally opened in Enosburg Falls’ downtown before its eventual move to St. Albans, has occupied the two-story building in St. Albans since 2016, renting it from the city as the city was finishing up its restoration of the building.

The city purchased the building for renovations after an accident in 2011 in which a manure truck skid through the building and render it uninhabitable. Since then, St. Albans City has restored the building with the ultimate intentions of eventually selling it.

“That was our intent all along, and we were very fortunate to find a good tenant,” said Marty Manahan, the city’s director of business operations and business development. “They bring a good mix into our downtown… and I think they’re a valuable business to have that will help other businesses in our downtown.”

According to Manahan, the money raised from the purchase would be placed in the city’s redevelopment fund, earmarked for future developments in the city’s downtown.

Gingras said that while not everyone in the gallery was initially on board with the difficult prospect of fundraising and owning a building, gallery members ultimately rallied behind the drive and, according to Gingras, are the people who ultimately made it successful.

“I appreciate the members’ courage and vision,” Gingras said, quoting a line she’d repeat more than once when speaking with the Messenger earlier this week. “A lot of people put in a lot of work.”

Documents filed with the National Register of Historic Places date 10 Main Street back to the mid-19th century.

Originally a commercial space according to the National Register, 10 South Main Street site now hosts artists from across Northwest Vermont, displaying works ranging from watercolors and acrylics to ceramics and even metalworking.

The Artist in Residence’s Main Street home. Historical records trace the building back to 1865.(Michael Frett, MESSENGER STAFF)

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