(Photo by Ken Ross)
The Artists Tradingpost will have a grand opening on Friday, June 16. The new art gallery, located in the former Wilson Junior High School building at the northeast corner of the intersection of Willow Street and North Second Street, will be open all day Friday with refreshments served.
The business entrance is the northwest door of the building where the sign is located.
The business is owned and operated by Bert and Hope Bieler, who live in the building with their children.
The regular business hours will be Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m.
Bert Bieler moved from Schleswig with his family in 2001, bringing their Iowa Native Lumbers operation with them. "We really like the people of this town," Bieler said.
Bieler mills hardwood lumber and makes furniture from the lumber and from old wood he recovers from structures. He notes that he gets inquiries from people who ask him whether he cuts down trees but he doesn't do that. He will cut up downed trees on location with his portable mill.
Hosting visitors to the gallery will be similar to what Bieler has done since coming to Cherokee. People have often stopped by to chat. Now they will have a variety of works from area artists to view, including furniture that Bieler has made.
There is also furniture made by local wood craftsmen Ed Wiemold and Anurag Gupta. There are sculptures by Lucille Briggs and Jackie Letsche. Paintings include water colors by Linda Fries of Peterson, works in various media by April Woltman of Cherokee, watercolors by Suzanne Kleymann of Alta and watercolors by Dorthea Nielsen of Odebolt.
Nielsen happens to be 92 years old and produces vivid still life scenes.
For those wanting a memento of the old junior high, Bieler has crafted pens using wood recovered from Wilson Junior High School.
A sawmill museum will eventually be added, displaying artifacts and telling of the history of sawmills. Temporary exhibitions on conservation will be changed periodically.
Bieler noted that the people of Cherokee are not only friendly, they have also been helpful when he announced plans to establish an art gallery, particularly Jim Adamson, who went to work contacting artists.
"We're definitely here to stay," Bieler said.