By Suzanne Scherr. Photo copyright Susan Larson, Fredericksburg.Today.

Longevity is rare for any organization that depends on voluntary effort. But the oldest art cooperative in Fredericksburg owes its start and continued success to members and their families who willingly contribute time and elbow grease to encourage each other’s creativity.

Artist Jane Woodworth assembled Art First Gallery’s original members.

Many of the gallery’s former members continue to exhibit in the local area and beyond. Widely recognized are Jane Woodworth, Johnny P. Johnson, Paula Rose, Helen Butler, Dee McCleskey, Alba King (her son, Ed King, is a current member), Elsie Hagenlocher, Anita Holle and Ruth Loving.

Two founding members — Cathy Herndon and Linda Warshaw — still exhibit at Art First.

Members are juried by an elected board that values professionalism and a unique portfolio.

All are welcome to join the First Friday celebration of Art First’s 25th anniversary from 6 to 9 pm on February 3, 2017.

A month long silent auction of more than 25 representative works by current and some emeritus members will be featured in a show called “This is Us.” Proceeds will benefit the Youth Art Program, which brings art to local underserved children through an initiative of the Fredericksburg Center for the Creative Arts.

Art First is located at 824 Caroline St. in downtown Fredericksburg.

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