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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Providing a local venue

Tucked away in a cottage on East Sherman Avenue is a small but colorful art gallery, appropriately called The Cottage Gallery. Art is displayed in a fenced-in courtyard in front when the weather permits, and a side deck holds more treasures, including folk-art painted furniture by local artist Gene Keevy.

Adina Walsh, 60, opened the gallery Memorial Day weekend of 2004. Walsh was born and raised in Spokane and has lived in Coeur d’Alene four years. Not only is this her first art gallery, it is her first business venture. She purchased the cottage six months before the opening.

“I’m a speech pathologist – my whole career was in education,” Walsh said.

“This is a whole brand new thing. I’ve never had a business before; I’ve never had a gallery before.”

Her 80-year-old mother, Alice Haigh, a retired nurse who now lives in Coeur d’Alene, was instrumental in helping Walsh get the place ready to open. Haigh used to live in Long Beach, Wash., and Walsh loved perusing the galleries there. She always thought it would be fun to have a gallery, and in Long Beach, many of the gallery owners lived above their shops, which is exactly what Walsh is doing at the cottage.

“I moved over here (Coeur d’Alene) first, and shared a house with a friend,” Walsh said. “I spent two years waiting to find something of my own. One day I found this and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, my gallery.’ I just knew it would be a gallery.”

Walsh makes beaded jewelry, some of which is on display in the gallery. She used to make her own porcelain beads and is also a potter.

The cottage was formerly occupied by a sign company owned by Richard LeFrancis. He had finished the courtyard, but the side yard was mud from the front gate all the way to the detached studio. Walsh also built the deck with French doors leading to it.

“It was a family deal,” she said.

Her son Tony Walsh, 35, built the deck and put a new roof on, and her brother, Jim Sager, 57, did all the rock work in the yard; Walsh hauled all the rock herself. Haigh painted and refinished woodwork inside. LeFrancis came back to look at it and was amazed, according to Walsh.

Walsh said that Steve Gibbs, owner of Art Spirit Gallery, was very helpful in giving her tips on how her gallery should take form. What makes her gallery unique is that she is providing a venue for artists from Coeur d’Alene, Spokane and outlying areas. Currently she is showing watercolor and acrylic paintings by Wes Hanson, a longtime resident of the Cougar Gulch area.

“I had a lot of people give me good advice,” Walsh said. “There aren’t a lot of places that will take local and regional art.”

In conjunction with the monthly art walk, Friday from 5 to 8 p.m., Walsh will have a shared show by three talented local artists.

Post Falls glass artist Louise Telford had her “Composition in Black and White” featured at the prestigious Pilchuk Glass auction last October at the Westin Hotel in Seattle. She will show some of her fused glass creations.

Coeur d’Alene painter Jan Clizer will feature some of her colorful harbor scenes, landscapes, Celtic-themed instrument close-ups, vibrant florals and human and animal portraits from her time spent in the United Kingdom and Scotland. Clizer divides her time between Coeur d’Alene and Scotland.

The other featured artist is Jim Baumgartner, who is with the Coeur d’Alene Art Association. In his first shared show, he will display his watercolor paintings and pen-and-ink drawings. The work of all three artists will remain on display in the gallery throughout this month.

The gallery will be open only three days a week beginning in September until the Christmas holiday, as Walsh plans to work one more year as a speech pathologist and then retire. This busy lady also just started selling Mary Kay Cosmetics.

“It just has been so much fun meeting artists and having a whole different thing to talk about besides just education,” Walsh said. “Not that I haven’t really loved my career. It’s been a wonderful career, but it’s just really neat to have another focus now.”

The Cottage Gallery is at 1520 E. Sherman, just west of Moontime.

Two doors down is another little treasure of a shop, Malmaison, where proprietor Yvonne Dailey specializes in permanent florals. It’s definitely worth the time to check out the creative force taking shape on East Sherman.

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