The group was founded in 1982 as a way to bring art into the county, according to Faye McLain, treasurer and founding member.
“It was just a bunch of local artists who got together and decided they wanted to promote the arts, so we got organized and got our nonprofit status. Now the county has made the courthouse available to us,” she said.
In 1982, the group had about 15 to 20 members, but it has more than 40 members today.
The floor has paintings on display and for sale and includes studio space for several artists in the association.
The association also has a gift shop on the floor where they sell note cards produced from members’ paintings, pottery, glass and books.
There is also a space for classes where members will teach classes ranging from one day to several weeks.
A grand opening celebration for the gallery is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Refreshments will be served throughout the day, and there will also be door prizes.
“We’re just getting started,” said member Judy Cooper. “For a [county] this small, we’re trying to encourage culture. We’re hoping when there are events downtown, we can open it up for people to tour.”
The gallery will be open on the weekends for the public to tour.
Paulding Fine Arts will host its annual Fall Fest Oct. 13 in downtown Dallas. The association is taking applications for vendors.
A $40 application fee is required, and applications can be found on the association’s website.
In addition to the fall fest, the association hosts four art competitions throughout the year — the Juried Art Show, held in the fall; The Annual Competition, held in April; the Student Competition, held in March; and the Photography Competition, held in the summer.
There are cash prizes for winners.
The association also sponsors the Doris Butts Scholarship, named after a former member who served as secretary for 24 years.
With the old courthouse now hosting a GED program, Paulding County Genealogical Society and soon the Georgia Highlands College library, McLain said she was proud of the direction the community was moving in regarding culture and education.
“I’m so proud this courthouse is being preserved and used for educational purposes,” she said.