A Leap of Faith How a Group of Artists Founded a Gallery

November 2023, by Alexis Moyer

Alexis Moyer is pictured with some of her work at Edgewater Gallery. Photo courtesy of Karin Denson/Edgewater Gallery 

Taking a leap of faith can be a little intimidating or even downright frightening, so I’m always grateful when people take that leap of faith to commission me to create something wonderful for them.  

But leaps of faith aren’t just for commissions. Sometimes they’re about big decisions that can change the course of our lives. We make them, and we’ll never know what would have/could have been had we chosen a different option. We can change our direction, but we can’t undo the past.  

Twenty years ago, I put my trust in a group of artists, most of whom I didn’t know, and together we formed an art collective in Fort Bragg, California, called Edgewater Gallery.  

We met in an empty commercial space and talked about what it could become. Everyone had a slightly different “vision” for the future, but eventually a core group of 17 of us reached a meeting of the minds and committed to the project. 

It was almost like magic that everyone brought what they knew how to do and together, all the tasks that needed to happen, both on the business management side and on the build-out of the space, got done and the gallery opened. We got to know each other as we worked together, friendships formed, and a beautiful gallery came into being.  

It’s hard to believe 20 years have flown by. Most of the original members have moved on to other endeavors, but for the month of September, we came together once again for a 20th Anniversary Founding Members Show at Edgewater Gallery.   

Alexis Moyer’s animal sculptures have a sense of whimsy. Photo courtesy of Alexis Moyer 

Eleven of the original members were represented in the show, and many of them were at the opening reception on Sept. 1.  

I was excited to see old friends again and to see where each of their art journeys has taken them. I think some may have been surprised to see where my journey has taken me as well.  

When we first opened the gallery, I was primarily making functional pottery, and it might even have been in the white glaze with a fruit pattern that I used to do.  

Being a part of Edgewater Gallery gave me the opportunity to have a solo show each year. And each year, I would try to use that opportunity to expand my work, try new things, and stretch my creativity as I put my show together.  

One of those shows was made up of my very first totem poles. They were more stacked shapes than the story pieces I create today, but they gave me that first taste of combining my love of architecture with my love of ceramics.  

They provided a way for me to assemble my ceramic pieces in a way that required my skills as a designer, finding balance of both forms and colors, and I was hooked into a format that I’m still happily exploring today.  

So, as I think about the roads taken and the roads passed by, the leaps of faith, and the bounty of rewards they bring, I am so grateful to have been invited to that meeting in the empty commercial space 20 years ago. I’d gladly take that same leap all over again.  

Alexis Moyer’s totem poles tell a story. Photos courtesy of Alexis Moyer