Two arts groups in McPherson have merged to form a new, stronger alliance.
The McPherson Arts Council and Visual Arts Alliance of McPherson Inc. have merged to form the McPherson Arts Alliance Inc.
The new organization will be responsible for youth and adult art classes offered at the Mary Anderson Art Center in the basement of the McPherson Opera House. These classes are conducted in fall, spring and summer sessions.
The group will sponsor the McPherson County Student Art Exhibition and Scholarship Competition, McPherson Community Photography Show, McPherson College Art Student Show and educational bus tours.
The VAAM art gallery, as well as shows in the Heritage Gallery in the Opera House, will fall under the direction of the alliance. The group also plans to coordinate small art shows in local business venues.
Co-presidents Donna Lehner and Dee Erway-Sherwood introduced the new alliance during an open house Friday at the Opera House.
The merged group will allow the new organization to combine its resources and memberships.
"It will be easier if we all work together and don't duplicate services," Lehner said.
The new co-presidents said they would eventually like to bring theater and music into the alliance.
Sharon Long has been named secretary of the alliance and Tom Whalen treasurer. Other board members include Mary Hughes, Elizabeth Liljegren, Ann Zerger, Jane Ledell, David Brock, Peggy Ball and Evelyn Nelson.
During the open house, Wayne Conyers conducted a water colors workshop, Ann Zerger of McPherson College demonstrated clay work and Lori Martin-Price demonstrated metalsmithing.
Erway-Sherwood said classes participants don't have to have experience in art or the particular medium in which they are taking the class.
"You just have to have a love to learn," she said.
A metalsmithing class is ending this week, and clay classes are set for February. Youth classes will be offered this summer. Scholarships are available for those who qualify.
For more information, call the alliance at 620-241-6131.
Lehner and Erway-Sherwood also plugged the alliance's champagne bus tour to Oklahoma City set for February.
The alliance will offer an educational bus trip to visit the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
Check the following link to learn more about the type of art exhibitions they have on display: http://www.nationalcowboymuseum.org. Past trips have included touring the "79th Plaza Art Fair" in Kansas City — where 240 artists booths were on display and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.
The McPherson Arts Alliance Inc. is a 501(C)3 organization. They will solicit donations and memberships to help them bring nationally recognized artists to display their work and offer workshops in McPherson.
Memberships start at $10 for students and $35 for non-students. For more information, see the alliance's website at http://mcphersonartsalliance.com.