GALLIPOLIS — The French Art Colony is in the middle of constructing a new outdoor shelter to help in its efforts to host more events and weddings.
According to Jan Thaler, chairperson of the French Art Colony Board of Trustees, the art gallery received a $100,000 grant from the state to aid in the construction of the shelter. Construction started roughly six weeks ago and is estimated to be completed in August by Thaler Construction.
“We used to have a lot of weddings here (French Art Colony) because it’s very pretty here,” Jan Thaler said. “People like to get married here, it’s scenic. So we thought we should build something that can provide coverage. Previously, people have been able to rent tents. The price for renting a tent for a wedding has gone out of sight, so this can take the place of having a tent and have people come back here and plan weddings.”
Thaler said she knows several couples who were waiting for the shelter’s completion before finally booking their ceremony dates on the gallery property. She noted the southwest side of the shelter would be walled off to provide some measure of privacy from the cars in the nearby courthouse parking lot.
Thaler said with the completion of the shelter, “Hot Summer Night” events would likely move to that area of the French Art Colony property. She noted the Thursday night events usually start in May and continued every week “until bad weather sets in.”
Thaler said she has a strong love for historic preservation and the shelter was designed in a fashion to reflect the design of the French Art Colony’s front porch. The metal roof atop the shelter will be painted a shade of green similar to that of the gallery’s. The pillars of the shelter were also formed with the gallery’s front porch in mind.
According to a French Art Colony publication, the organization was originally formed in 1964. By 1970, the organization moved from is location at the corner of Locust Street and Second Avenue in the early 1970s. Roughly, $77,500 was raised to put toward the purchase of the gallery’s current location. The house originally belonged to the Holzer family.
According to Thaler, the building was originally constructed sometime in the mid-1800s. Dr. Charles E. Holzer bought the house in November 1918 and continued a long tradition of medical professionals living in the building. His son, Dr. Charles Holzer Jr., was the one who approached the French Art Colony and suggested using it as the gallery’s new base of operations.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.