Cherry & Webb Fall River
Herald News photo by Dave Souza
Cherry & Webb building.

The Cherry & Webb Gallery held its last event on Saturday before closing its doors after nearly a decade of exhibits and other artful events.

Curator and artist Victoria Mathieson said the gallery has closed because its grant funding has dried up. The gallery was largely funded by Dominion, the owner of Brayton Point Power Station in Somerset, which sold the plant at the end of August to Energy Capital Partners.

Dominion contributed $10,000 per year to the Cherry & Webb Gallery.

The gallery did receive some smaller amounts of grant funding from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and some help from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, which rents space in the Cherry & Webb building, but not enough to sustain the gallery.

“We didn’t make it to 10 years, but we made it to nine,” said Mathieson. “It was good while it lasted.”

The Cherry & Webb Gallery featured numerous artists, both local and regional, through the years. It offered about six or seven openings each year, plus a Children’s Film Festival, which turned out to be its last event Saturday.

“A lot of people liked the gallery,” Mathieson said. “We’ve probably shown hundreds of artists. We’ve had artists from all over.”

For Mathieson, the gallery closing is bittersweet. For the past few years, Mathieson has lived in Vermont and has been commuting about four and a half hours to Fall River for exhibit hangings and events. Most recently, she’s been spending time in her native England to care for her elderly mother.

Mathieson said she was glad to have one “last hurrah” at the gallery before it closed.

Whether the gallery space, located on the main floor of the Cherry & Webb building in what was once the junior’s department of the Cherry & Webb department store, will see art again is unknown.

The 139 S. Main St. building is owned by the Fall River Office of Economic Development. FROED Director Ken Fiola said he’d like to see the space reopen in the future, but was unsure if that would actually happen.

Fiola said his office will “take some time to figure it out.”

“We’ll look to see if there are any other funding opportunities,” Fiola said. “Primarily the gallery has been funded on grants.”

Mathieson, who is involved in a couple of galleries in Vermont, said she doesn’t plan on coming back if the gallery does get funding.

“Maybe there’s a young artist that might want to do this,” Mathieson said. “Life is about change, and everything changes.”

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