OASIS Art Gallery
Location:103 S. Main St., Harrisonburg, VA 22801 Map
Email: oasisart@shentel.net
Phone: 540-442-8188
Hours: Sunday thru Thursday: 12 to 5 pm
Friday: 12 to 8 pm
Saturday: 10 am to 5 pm

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OASIS Fine Art & Craft Gallery

Who We Are

OASIS Fine Art & Craft Gallery is a totally volunteer-run cooperative that has served the community seven days a week for nine years at its location in downtown Harrisonburg. They offer rich art, music and spoken word experiences at little or no cost through exhibits and openings, classes, concerts and informal music sessions, children's projects, poetry readings and other programs. Juried artists, artisans and musicians, have the opportunity to exhibit and have their work for sale to the public. College students are welcomed to take part in OASIS internship program, and may apply for student membership.

Judith Ligon, president of the art cooperative in 2010, says "OASIS continues to be a source of inspiration, empowerment and healing through the arts in our community. OASIS has expanded its classes and educational offerings and special programs in the visual arts, music, poetry as well as community outreach. We are recognized as partners in downtown events from the Museum and Gallery Walk when we host The Big Draw, to First Night, and are regular participants in First Fridays."

A Heartfelt Thank You

OASIS and its parent organization, Shenandoah Council of the Arts, are extremely grateful to our many wonderful partners, supporters and customers. It is a privilege to have your friendships and to share in our community life. Thank you for being an integral part of what artist member Deb Booth calls "the great big ball of wonder that is OASIS"!

The Beginning

OASIS opened its doors in October 2000 as Harrisonburg's first artists' cooperative. The name OASIS stands for "our art space in the Shenandoah Valley". The founders were leaders from Rockingham Fine Arts, in particular its progenitor, Dr. Crystal Theodore, then head of the art department at James Madison University. She strived tirelessly to bring OASIS into being. Others like Paul Miller Kline, then art department head at Bridgewater College, and Phil James, art professor at James Madison University, were among the founding board members who devoted great energy toward establishing the organization.

In 2000, after years, if not decades, of dreaming and searching, RFA leaders had learned that the Sycamore Gallery was closing, making the Hostetter Building storefront available for lease. Sycamore Gallery owners were willing to donate their display equipment to RFA's project, a gesture of generosity that was key to moving forward. RFA leaders invited local artists and artisans to view the space, give feedback about the opportunity, and begin committing to the formation of a co-op.

RFA obtained not-for-profit status, then changed its legal name to the Shenandoah Council of the Arts, to better reflect its goals for the arts in the Shenandoah Valley. With help of good friends like Dr. Ronald Carrier and then-mayor Larry Rogers, SCA sought support from Harrisonburg's City Council to help realize its dream of a place to exhibit local fine art and craft and to offer art programs to the community. The city's grant made it possible for SCA to get OASIS on its feet.

Shenandoah Council of the Arts

Today the parent organization of OASIS, Shenandoah Council of the Arts, has board members from many community organizations--among them are Harrisonburg City Schools, James Madison University's School of Art & Art History, Central Shenandoah Arts, Shenandoah Valley Watercolor Society, and Virginia Penwomen. Current SCA president Barbara Gautcher is an art teacher at Eastern Mennonite High School and past president of OASIS' cooperative.

As a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, Shenandoah Council of the Arts relies on community support and on public and private grants to continue OASIS and its programs promoting the arts.   Both the Arts Council of the Valley and the Virginia Commission for the Arts provide funding through grants for artists and arts programs.

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Page updated: 02/04/2010    |   © OASIS Art Gallery