Corazon Gallery, Trinidad’s longest operating gallery, is celebrating 25 years on Main Street this month. The gallery is the showplace for members of the Trinidad Art League.

The first meeting of the Art League was held in the home of Katherine McKay in September 1972. The mission of the league was to encourage the development of art in the area and to provide opportunity and recognition to local artists. The league also planned to bring educational programs to Trinidad.

Meetings were held on the second Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. in the Furu Building. Many notable artists gave demonstrations at the monthly meetings.

The Art League held its first exhibit in the Century Savings and Loan building, beginning on April 15, 1973. It was non-competitive with no entry fee. The purpose was to acquaint the public with the artists and give them a place to show and sell their art.

The league began looking for a permanent home for its members to display their work that was accessible to tourists during the summer months. During their quest for a gallery location, the group continued to hold exhibits around Trinidad and one member’s painting was chosen as “Picture of the Week” and displayed in the window of Jamieson’s Department Store.

After holding exhibits at the Baca Museum, First National Bank, the Century Savings and Loan Building, the Columbian Hotel and outdoors in the park adjacent to City Hall, the league opened its first gallery in the old Isis Building on July 8, 1974. Their first gallery was named The Sunburst Gallery and in the 18 months since its inception, the Trinidad Art League grew from a charter membership of seven to over a hundred members.

Over the next decade, the league went through many changes, changes in membership, two gallery location moves and a name change.

In August 1995, the art league opened its new gallery at 149 E. Main Street as The Corazon Gallery. Three years later, the gallery got a makeover and increased in size to accommodate the exhibition of local artists, as well as member’s artwork.

Corazon Gallery held its first TALAS show (the Trinidad Area Local Artists’ Show) in April of 2002. The following year, TALAS exhibited 120 pieces of art by 70 local artists. Forty-eight works of art sold, nearly a third of the entries.

Due to the COVID-19 virus, TALAS was canceled this year for the first time in 17 years.     

Throughout the many changes, the gallery’s mainstay is Trish Keck. Trish has been presiding president for nearly 30 years and has been instrumental in keeping the gallery going through tough times. When the economy tanked, it was Trish’s idea to create smaller, more affordable art pieces in order to survive the recession.     

Although she recently turned the position of president over to Cheryl Leef and said she’s now “just a member,” the other members of the co-op consider her the matriarch of the gallery.     

The Trinidad Art League continues to showcase local talent through the cooperative Corazon Gallery. The gallery is opened part-time, Wednesday through Saturday during the pandemic and is celebrating it’s 25th birthday with a virtual party/sale and design a card contest on August 21 at 5 p.m. on the Corazon Gallery Facebook page. The winners of the card contest will win a prize from local artists or businesses.

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