Best Civic-Minded Art Gallery

Local Girl Gallery

Linda Goik knows all about art snobbery, and she's having none of it. The Lakewood silk artist opened the Local Girl Gallery in May 2004, intent on providing an outlet for area talent and demolishing the stigma that so often clings to fine art — you know, how it's culture and all. Inside her modest storefront is a space that less resembles a gallery than a south-of-the-border bazaar — a slapdash burst of color and texture a thousand miles removed from dainty, cheese-eating hipsterism. There's leaded stained glass suspended from the ceiling, audacious framed paintings stacked invitingly on the floor, and an antique cupboard displaying earthenware, with Goik's own brilliant silk scarves casually draped over its doors. It's a festival of art crafted almost exclusively by artists who have never before been featured in a gallery. And Goik not only culls art from her community, she throws money back at it. In Local Girl's first year alone, she hosted fund-raisers for juvenile diabetes, local family groups, and children's hospitals; an October auction of decorated lunchboxes fetched more than $900 for a local breast-cancer-research fund. For this, and for the local artisans it emboldens, Local Girl is a thing of beauty.