FITCHBURG — Two weeks was all it took to bring The Revolving Museum’s first permanent gallery space in five years from an idea to reality.
“We were driving by and (my wife Coraly Rivera) said, ‘OK, call that guy right there. Call that phone number,” said Jerry Beck, The Revolving Museum founder and artistic director.
Beck made the call. Within weeks the building at Main and River streets by the new roundabout was rented, renovated and ready to open.
“It felt like a miracle,” he said. “It really did. What just happened?”
Some elements of the gallery, which opened Sunday, have not yet been decided, such as business hours and the new space’s name — perhaps some play off the neighboring roundabout, also a new addition to the area, Beck said.
“We’re revolving,” he said. “This is a revolving rotary.”
Inside, paintings, drawings and sculptures — including some for sale — line the walls of the long room. Together the works are what Beck said will likely be the most traditional exhibit to show at the part gallery, part community space.
Some pieces are from students or local artists; others are from Beck’s Fitchburg home, which has served as the official home of the Revolving Museum since the Lowell location shut down in 2012.
The volunteer-run gallery will start regular hours when Beck returns from vacation in two weeks and act as the latest iteration in the over 30-year-old museum’s mission of “making space for art and community.
The new space, which has several tables, will function as a place for community artwork and outreach such as the meeting area of the Teen Arts Group, or TAG. The community approach doesn’t end at programming, Beck said.
“We’ve always believed we need to fill our spaces with the full range of creative artistic talent,” he said. “It should be about creative opportunity.”
While Beck and his friends were renovating the space earlier this month, a man walking by, stopped and mentioned he was an artist.
Two painted wooden pieces by the man, Steve Chabot, now hang on the gallery walls, the first public display of Chabot’s work, according to Beck.
“A guy comes over here, says, ‘I’m an artist.’ How often would anybody just invite him into a show?” he said. “That’s what we’re about.”
Mayor Stephen DiNatale said the gallery, the third in the city, is another “spoke” in the wheel of the area’s economic development.
“We have a focus on the creative economy, there’s no question,” DiNatale said.