Happy Birthday, Eclectix Art and Gifts! It's time to celebrate Eclectix's two years in downtown Independence. What better way to celebrate than to join Independence Main Street for First Thursday, June 6?

Gallery Director Tamisha Sewell said they have seen some changes since their initial opening in July of 2017. "We have had members come and go but really our core group is very similar to what it was two years ago," she said. "We, of course, have switched directors from Lacy Franko — who we are very grateful for since she helped get the whole thing started — to myself. We also have new artists with new art in a variety of styles."

The gallery has begun carrying a selection of art supplies for area artists who don't want to travel to purchase supplies. Sewell said the visual aspect of the gallery has changed as they have painted both outside and inside the building. "Our window display also changes regularly to go with the seasons or holidays. We've started our fun 'flocking' fundraiser and now offer the opportunity for community members to become sponsors of the gallery," she stated.

Eclectix has many things planned to help include the community in the celebration, Sewell said. "We are all so excited to have fun with everyone. This year we are having our birthday party in conjunction with Main Street's First Thursday event so there will be a huge variety of vendors on the 300 block of N. Penn Ave,, as well as food trucks and live entertainment," she said excitedly. "At the gallery we will have face painting, a huge community coloring page featuring none other than our mascot, Francine the Flamingo, a giant community painting, art demonstrations from some of our artists, a bake sale, a silent auction, and a drawing. So it will be a busy but fun night celebrating our birthday with our gallery family and the community that supports us."

The co-op gallery began with a handful of artists but increased until they had 14 at the grand opening. "We currently have 13 artists," Sewell said.

What does the future hold for Eclectix? Sewell said, "We plan to offer a wide variety of fun and interesting art classes with a mix of old favorites and some new ones as well. We also look forward to further getting to know members our community and to collaborating with the Astra Arts Festival in 2020," noted Sewell. "We look forward to welcoming new members to our gallery family and are always taking applications. You can also stop by and visit us on Saturday, June 8 at Prairie Days at Little House on the Prairie."

Be sure to check out the gallery Facebook page at facebook.com/eclectixartandgifts, to stay up to date on art classes available as well as other events. Visit the gallery at 311 N. Penn Ave. and pick up some one-of-a-kind art for a friend or for yourself.