The Courtyard Gallery is being readied for the Art Alliance of Idyllwild’s grand opening on March 24, featuring the “Here and Now Art Exhibition.” Photo by Susan Monroe

“The Art Alliance of Idyllwild is dedicated to seeing Idyllwild become a nationally recognized fine arts center for education, creativity and exhibition.” That statement is AAI’s mantra, and to that end, AAI has rented The Courtyard Gallery, which is in the process of becoming a new gallery, visitor center and resource center. This location will be AAI’s first permanent space, “a place to call home,” said AAI President Donna Elliot.

The grand opening, referred to as the “Here and Now Art Show,” will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, March 24, at The Courtyard Gallery, 26120 Ridgeview Drive, and includes wine, music and art.

Artists are invited to exhibit their work at the new gallery. “With this grand opening of new gallery space, and this new opportunity for members to sell their art, we  encourage members to submit a new piece of art, recently created, never exhibited before. ‘Here and Now’ is about fresh and new,” reads the AAI website.

Art lovers are invited to the exhibition where they can meet the artists. The art will be on display and for purchase until April 22.

In addition to using The Courtyard Gallery to display art, AAI also plans to use the space as a visitor and resource center. “This is where art and the community can come together for meetings, art workshops, talks, retrospectives, art shows and collaborative promotion of artists, galleries and art hot spots,” said Elliot. “Drop by the Courtyard Gallery and share your ideas, get advice and information. Look through art books and find out what’s going on in Idyllwild.”

In the near future, she added, “we will have brochures and information about our member galleries, art hot spots, our patron inns and other local businesses. We will also promote the town’s events and other non-profits.”

Here’s a bit of history about The Courtyard Gallery. Artist Carol Mills founded it in 1980. The Carol Mills website says: “She was born in Hollywood in 1930. Carol grew up in a place and time punctuated with artists of many media.”

Mills passed away in June 2014, and the gallery went to her children, Evan and Robin Mills. The Mills brother and sister felt that AAI’s vision for the space at The Courtyard Gallery enabled the family to continue and build on the The Courtyard Gallery tradition.

“We are working closely with Evan and Robin Mills to display some of the unique art of Carol Mills. We will begin with a collection of their mother’s abstracts, building a full retrospective by next year,” according to information Elliot provided.

AAI looks forward to collaborating with the Idyllwild Area Historical Society to curate an Ernie Maxwell Retrospective, also. This will provide a “rare opportunity to see the wide range of art mediums he produced.”

A new event for AAI this year is a “Mother and Daughter Afternoon Tea and Textile Art Creation.” Mothers and daughters will design and create a felted scarf, just in time for Mother’s Day. After the tea, participants will take with them a China tea cup and saucer as a memento.

The Courtyard Gallery will host board meetings, artist workshops, educational talks, student art classes, live figure drawing sessions, and the Art Walk and Wine Tasting event, as well as become home to one of the new deer of the Deer Herd expansion project.

Elliot invites you to check out for a calendar of events and details of how to join the AAI. “We have an Art Lover Membership category as low as $40 per year,” she said.