Artists flourish at Proctor gallery

Over the several years I’ve written about art, the arts, artists, galleries, etc., for this newspaper, I’ve seen many changes to include the fact that galleries have recently had to close their doors.

So, it was of interest to note that Proctor Art Gallery is on the threshold of its fourth anniversary celebration. Wondering what accounts for its continuing success, I went directly to the artists themselves to learn more. A call went out and 10 artists quickly agreed to be interviewed about how the gallery works and their roles in it. We met at the gallery on a Sunday afternoon.

Although its structure is similar to that of a cooperative, the Proctor Gallery is organized as an LLC.  This means that the owners, Carolyn Burt and her musician husband Chuck Gourley, have controlling interest. Each artist staffs the gallery two days a month, pays a monthly rent, and has a limited voice on how that money is to be spent.

“Our owner is a wonderful manager with creative promotional ideas” who does the bookwork, which most artists hate doing, said Bonnie Cargol.

Sharon Crocetti  explained that the books are set up so that transactions can be easily tracked and recorded by computer programs.All the artist has to do is check and fill in the right spaces on the paperwork

Artists must sign a contract, agreeing to the financial stipulations as well as agreeing to participate in the monthly meetings. These meetings are on the first Tuesday of each month. Any business matters are handled in the first part of the morning.Then all the work comes down off the walls. If anyone has something new to hang or display, it is brought in.

In a collegial atmosphere, the art is discussed and placed in the resulting new arrangement. This change-out, says Scott Nelson, is a lot of work but it generates “a really good mix of quality art” that is fresh each month. For most artists, this ability to be seen by the public is important.

Everybody’s work is initially juried by a committee of peers to be accepted into the gallery, Sparks and Hein pointed out. Stockdale says the vote is a way to “assure quality control.” Gary LaTurner refers to it as creating “high expectations” by both the artists and the public. Each artist I talked with extolled  the harmonious, non-competitive nature of the group.

Proctor District businesses have wholly embraced the gallery as one of its own, says Burt. She points with pride to the many activities in which they participate, not the least of which is the $4,000 total it has raised for a food bank.

In time for their Christmas open house (Dec. 1, 2-6 p.m.), the gallery will be offering 10-notecard packets for sale. On Jan. 26, they will celebrate their anniversary with entertainment and prizes.

As Andrea Greenfield puts it, “Proctor Gallery is a treasure for Tacoma.”

The Proctor Art Gallery LLC is located at 3811 N. 26th St. in Tacoma. Its phone number is 253-759-4238.

The gallery is open daily Monday sthrough Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.


About the artists

Thanks to all the artists listed below who took the time out of their Sunday to talk with me about the gallery.

• Carolyn Burt. Owner who manages to also be a popular gallery artist.

• Bonnie Cargol. Bonnie earned her Masters in science from UW, taught for many years, and now is retired, devoting time to her hobby as an award-winning water colorist.  See

• Sharon Crocetti. Portraits in pastels, charcoals and oils, using live models, are what Sharon enjoys doing most of all, especially in learning to read the face of her subject. Her work can be seen at

• Andrea Greenfield. One of the founding artists of the Gallery, she produced the winning poster for the 2012 Art Fest.  Often her representational, watercolor florals are directly inspired by her garden.  She also knits items for sale. See

• Linda Jacobus. Working in oils since 1994, she is self-taught and believes there is always some light to capture in a scene, which draws many to her work. See it at

• Gary LaTurner. Taught 33 years mostly in art, works in the arts community while doing his impressionistic pencil drawings and oils in studio or in the outdoors in places like Chinook Pass. See

• Scott Nelson. His day job is in communications for a law firm and his art work is in photography, a lifelong passion. Prints his photos on open-frame aluminum sheets. See

• Anne Doumit Sparks and Helen P. Hein.  Fiber and mixed media sister team. See

• Carol Stockdale  [Retired educational therapist who, after 20 years as a wood block print maker, now focuses on fused glass, especially creating beautiful bowls and glass sculptures.  See]