Number 7 Arts, a cooperative nonprofit program of the Transylvania Community Arts Council, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The first members’ show of the year, Heart and Soul, is on display at the gallery through March 13.
Photographer Jack Christfield was juried into Number 7 Arts in 2016. “The gallery was founded in 1999 by a group of community visionaries who wanted to develop a self-sustaining place to nurture and exhibit local artists,” Christfield says. “Since then, the gallery has been managed by the member artists, all of whom are juried in for their respective media. As local members of the community, we want to present a quality arts showcase to our town and to our visitors.”
Marcia Brennan was there when it all started. “On a cold January night in 1999, in the small empty building at 7 Main Street, our first location, a group of artists met with representatives of the Transylvania County Arts Council to try to put together a cooperative gallery,” says Brennan. “I was on crutches with a broken leg, but was determined to be there.”
This dogged commitment to the program is exhibited by all members, which is likely the reason for 25 years of success. “The cooperative model itself has the natural advantage of sharing expenses and labor,” says Brennan. “Twenty-five years of constantly refreshing, bringing in new people, new art and new ideas keeps the gallery current. Having direct contact between the artist working in the gallery and the customer makes for a more personal and insightful experience. Because of our varied membership, Number 7 Arts can offer a wide variety of quality artwork appealing to almost any taste.”
A key part of the program’s success was leasing its gallery space in Brevard in 2016. “We, the member artists, family members and friends provided the vast majority of the design and labor to renovate this high-visibility space to create a professional art gallery, and to return the exterior façade of the building to its historic appearance,” says Christfield. “We were generously supported in this by donations from the community and a grant from the arts council. We view ourselves as part of a vibrant downtown area.”
Number 7 Arts has weathered struggles in its quarter-decade, from the 2008 recession to the pandemic, and throughout it all has stood firm as an icon of community and art. “Anything that carries on for 25 years has naturally seen a lot of ups and downs and changes, and so it has been with Number 7 Arts,” says Brennan. “The mission has always been to encourage and promote the artists and the arts in Transylvania County and I think we are fulfilling that goal.”
Number 7 Arts Gallery is located at 2 West Main Street, Brevard. Learn more at Number7Arts.org.