Mount Vernon creates artist-run gallery and event space for artists

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Denise Murphy is co-owner of the Mount Vernon Creates gallery and event space (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

The art and events with which Denise Murphy surrounds herself are constantly evolving.

Murphy and her husband, Robert, own Mount Vernon Creates, an event space and art gallery in Mount Vernon.

Both are artists who wanted to create a gallery space that caters specifically to local artists.

“Everyone featured in the gallery lives within 30 miles of Mount Vernon,” she said, noting that more than a dozen artists are pictured at any given time.

“We bought the building in 2017 and were able to open the two front rooms right away,” Murphy said.

But the event center space had not been opened for 10 to 15 years.

“People tell us there have been various things over the years, but we had to completely renovate it because there was so much remnants of what was here before,” Murphy said, noting that meant new windows, new roof and new flooring, among others. other changes.

The building is very long and she said people are often surprised to find that there is event space available at the back.

The Mount Vernon Creates event space opened in 2019 after renovations and had a very successful first year, Murphy recalled.

“We’ve had a lot of graduation ceremonies, wedding receptions and baby showers,” she said.

The pandemic has put events on hold for most of the past year.

“We’ve had a few small weddings and a few rehearsal dinners (since). We had a reception last weekend which was just wonderful, ”said Murphy.

Many events featured by Mount Vernon Creates – including live music, writers’ night, and poetry readings – had also been put on hold, but Murphy said she was excited to resume them.

Because Robert still works in computer programming, she is the one who usually takes care of the day-to-day operations and coordination of events.

“… My background is actually in program and project management, so it’s perfect for keeping the event center organized,” she said.

The event center can accommodate 100 people and the Mount Vernon Creates gallery space expansion in the event center makes it unique, Murphy said.

“It’s a really nice backdrop, a nice backdrop that the local artists created to be in our event center.”

Right now, the gallery space is filled with the Representation of Mount Vernon art exhibit, which features a variety of pieces created by artists to represent their perspective on Mount Vernon. It will be until July and visitors will be able to vote for their favorite, Murphy said.

Mount Vernon Creates also sells local wines, from Cherry Meadows, Fireside Winery, Brick Arch Winery, and Cedar Ridge, as well as beer and soft drinks.

Works by local artists are on display at Mount Vernon Creates on Wednesday, June 30, 2021 (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

Murphy has also set up rental packages and has options for those looking to host events, including using an eclectic mix of China, centerpieces and more.

“We’re just trying to be as flexible as possible to relieve stress for people hosting receptions or events here,” Murphy said.

She added that, “depending on the customer’s preference, we can partner with local businesses to provide this food or they can prepare it wherever they want.”

Mount Vernon creates

The owners: Denise and Robert Murphy

Address: 121 First St. NW, Mount Vernon

Call: (319) 895-2682

Website: mountvernoncreates.com

“We hosted the Mount Vernon High School High School Art Show here,” she said, “and we also sponsored internships during the D semester at Mount Vernon High School. So far we’ve had three different interns and we’ve worked to help them understand the business.

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The works of 25 artists are currently on display in the Representation of Mount Vernon exhibit at Mount Vernon Creates on Wednesday, June 30, 2021. The exhibit is on display until July, with awards presented at an event on July 22. (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

The works of 25 artists are currently on display in the Representation of Mount Vernon exhibit at Mount Vernon Creates on Wednesday, June 30, 2021. The exhibit is on display until July, with awards presented at an event on July 22. (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

The 2019 renovated event space and gallery is seen from the front gallery of Mount Vernon Creates on Wednesday, June 30, 2021. (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

Mount Vernon premieres on Wednesday, June 30, 2021. (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

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