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Ironton Artists Association seeking new membership

A small advertisement in The Tribune started it all.

Pati Payne had just moved to Ironton and wanted to drum up interest for a local artist’s group. She had loved art all her life and was supported by her parents, also artists, to follow her dream to create.

“I loved art and wanted to get a club going of people interested in art and wanting to learn about art and display art,” Payne said.

From that initial advertisement, 40 people showed up for the first meeting of what would be named the Ironton Artists Association.

That was 38 years ago.

These, days, Payne said, membership for the group has declined.

“Everyone is just so busy, they don’t have time to paint,” she said. “A lot of the members are getting older. Some work and have kids. Older people have health problems. It’s just hard.”

Despite the declining membership, Payne said the group still meets from 7 to 9 p.m. the first Monday of every month at M&M Realty, 703 Park Ave., in downtown Ironton, and is hoping new art lovers will join. Payne is the treasurer for the group.

“It is just a friendly, informal meeting where we are all friends and visit and have a demonstration or discuss art or show our latest paintings,” Payne said.

IAA members frequently show off their artwork at local exhibits both in town and around the Tri-State.

“We get a lot of support from the community,” Payne said.

Starting at the beginning of the month and running through May 22, Briggs Lawrence County Public Library were display some of the members’ latest work.

Other works can be found hanging on walls throughout the county, such as at the Transit Center and Transit Café, and the Greater Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce.

During the first Saturday in October, the IAA hosts its annual fall art show at Central Christian Church with ribbons, as well cash prises and purchase awards given out.

Payne said the group has given more than just accolades and ribbons. It is an outlet to express herself artistically and surround herself with like-minded people, especially since retiring from Belk department store.

“I worked for 24 years and just retired last year,” she said. “Now I want to be a full-time artist. Art just means everything to me. I consider all the members of the Ironton club best friends. I want to paint a lot and display my work and just totally enjoy it.”

Payne said anyone who is interested in joining the IAA can come to a meeting or give her a call at (740) 533-1516.

“We want members,” Payne said. “We want people who care about art.”