By Tim McCarthy
Merrimack Valley art aficionados won't have to journey to Newburyport to visit an art gallery, as Haverhill's arts community continues to grow.
The Sage Art Gallery, located at 136 Washington St., celebrated its grand opening last week to a crowd of more than 50 patrons of the arts.
Owned and operated by Donald Herook, president of the Haverhill Arts Association, the gallery offers area artists space to display and sell their paintings and creations.
Herook said the gallery offered many of the renting artists their first opportunity for a public display in their creative careers.
"They don't really have any place to show their art work," he said, noting 30 artists have rented space so far. "They take it out of their basement, dust it off and sell it."
Herook said he toyed with the idea of a gallery space for the past three years, but finally found a suitable spot in his current location on Washington Street in October.
In the future, Herook plans to cycle art more frequently with art judging and competitions. He also plans to bring in guest artists and speakers to offer demonstrations and education for the public.
"Everything is evolving as we go along," he said.
He expects to have the gallery opening and running special events during the Christmas Stroll on Dec. 3.