By CAROL JACKSON
GRAND OPENING: Sisters Joanne Whitney, left, and Krista Gardner at the recent opening of the Whitney Art Gallery of Extraordinary Art in Grove. The gallery, located at 33 W. 4th St. in Grove, is owned by Joanne and Ben Whitney.
With a generous grant from the Oklahoma Arts Council, a Grove couple is staking their 40-plus years of entrepreneurial spirit toward a new venture that will be their first retail business, Whitney Art Gallery of Extraordinary Art.
Formerly operating in the credit and mortgage industries, Joanne and Ben Whitney say they’ve seized upon the grant’s opportunity for the small town that is gearing up for a new wave of economic prosperity. The Whitneys attribute the wave to an influx of newly retired Baby Boomers who seek outdoor recreation and scenic beauty, community-wide interest in the arts, and a safe place to live, like Grove.
“Those factors are definitely what Grove is all about,” said Joanne Whitney, herself an artist. “When Grove received the grant last year, it resulted in enhanced promotion of the arts and creation of our downtown’s Grove Springs Cultural District.
“We realized that transforming our former mortgage offices into a professional art gallery could make a dynamic impact on our town’s image as a destination for the arts.
Our building sits on the southwest boundary of the District where we can promote exceptional artists and artisans. We are open for our new business of providing exemplary artwork for display in our gallery, from the four-state area of Oklahoma’s Green Country, including the metro areas of Joplin and Tulsa.”
Whitney Art Gallery is presently hanging and displaying the original artwork of professional artists from Oklahoma, Missouri and California. Ben Whitney referred to the ongoing, permanent activity being promoted as the community’s signature artistic “look,” as the Grove Springs Cultural District’s Barn Quilt Project that will soon be evident on display throughout the Grove area.
“Artistic talent in America isn’t limited to the east coast or west coast, or Santa Fe. People will be more than pleasantly surprised when they see the amazing artistic talent in all of our Grove Springs Cultural District’s boundaries,” said Ben Whitney. He added, “Our format includes a monthly silent auction by gallery spectators that culminates in a “BAG the ” social event where the highest bidder can win quality artwork that may be selected from the gallery’s unique framed paintings, original pottery, and other outstanding works of art. The gallery will designate each month’s theme to recognition of an exemplary and recognized “Artist of the World.”
The Whitney Art Gallery is located at 33 West 4th Street in Grove. The phone number is 918-524-3333.