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20130329 UVAL RibbonCutting CAB 0032MISSION — The Upper Valley Art League celebrated the opening of its new building, Art Link, last week with artists, friends, as well as chamber and community members.

Many of those in attendance were artists, UVAL members, teachers or regular visitors.

The name Art Link has a dual purpose said Gloria and Keith Dietrich as several league members had a different name in mind.

Keith Dietrich said with the name Link it was an obvious choice. Gloria Dietrich thought it was perfect.

“That’s what it is, it’s our link to our community,” said Gloria Dietrich. “It belongs to the community.”

The name also honors all the hard work of UVAL President Maxilou Link, added Keith Dietrich.

“This is well earned,” said Matt Ruszczak, Mission Chamber of Commerce CEO. “A lot of hard work went into establishing yourself next door and growing into this space. This is an outstanding example of creating good quality of life in our area.”

The city essentially chose Link to be here, said Sandra Vecchio, chairman of the board for the Mission Chamber.

“You showed the city what you can do and what you can bring to our city,” she said. “They opened their doors and gave you a building. And now you have another building here just for you.”

Link thanked those involved in the expansion of UVAL including the mayor and city council. She also thanked the community for the opportunity to promote the arts in the City of Mission and the Rio Grande Valley.

Link recognized Robert Codina, first vice president; Beverly Allies, second vice president; Robert Rivera, treasurer; and Patty Dybdall, secretary. She also recognized her chairpersons who help with classes, the Facebook page, newsletter and other happenings of UVAL. They are Patsy Thurn, Dennis Grover, Kathy Dickey, Fran Wessel, Veronica Jaeger, Rene Johnson and Gloria Dietrich.

Thanking Ruszczak and his staff and attendees, Link said, “I want everybody to be happy.”

Allies said the new building provides a space so the Art League can offer art and ceramics classes and shop work without interrupting the gallery.

Gloria Dietrich said it’s nice to have a space dedicated to the gallery.

“It enlarges our sphere of influence,” said Gloria Dietrich of the new building. “We can reach a lot more people.”

Link said they now have a studio to paint in where they don’t have to put tables and chairs up or take them down for their exhibits. All the painting, wax, watercolor, acrylics, can be done in the front part of the building.

“The back part is for the dirty work. Anything that’s dirty will be back there, and there’s a lot of dirty work in the arts,” Link said. “I think it’s a shot in the arm for the community.”

The Upper Valley Art League provides access to arts of all mediums, for all ages. The building can help the group grow, and expand, just like the city.

The new building features two sections. The front section is where paint classes will be held, while the back section will host sculpture and pottery classes. In the near future, the back part of the building, separated from the front by a garage door, will be an area where welding art can be done and artists will be able to stretch their own canvasses.

There are also plans for three concerts a year, featuring chamber music, in the gallery. The first one, which is free and open to the public, will be held Sunday, May 19, at 4 p.m.

“That’s what makes us so nice,” said Link. “The public can have access to the arts and not have to pay a lot of money.”

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