Victoria Art League's Community Art Center has undergone major improvement in recent years. To celebrate these renovations, the league will be throwing a gala on Thursday. The event is open to donors, members and the public. The building, which is a 1898 Texas Historical Landmark, is nestled on South Bridge Street. It was purchased by Harold Nichols in the early '70s as a farmers' co-op, but he envisioned it as the perfect place for an art center. The Victoria Art League purchased the building in 1999, and have added to Nichols' improvements over the years.

"This building has so much history to it," President Bill Bauer told the Victoria Advocate. "We're trying to keep it as original as we can." Among the list of completed projects are upgrades to lighting in the gallery, maintenance on the roof and a complete tear down and restructuring of the patio. "It's an ongoing task," Bauer said. "For instance, with an old building like this, we have to look at the foundations; we just finished fixing one of the classrooms."

The large building accommodates several classes within the week in addition to its gallery and large "Artist of the Month" wall. This month, the wall features Nichols' greatest works and sculptures. The Gala will also announce its new name for their gallery - The Harold Nichols Gallery of Art. "We owe Nichols a lot," Bauer said. "He saw a place that artists would come and work. You can still see his mark all over the place."

Bauer, who sculpts pottery and paints, said the place is special to him and the artists who work at the center. "Our desire is to have a place artists or people interested in art can come," he said. "It's a special place; I've been here at three in the morning just working away. You just want to do art when you're here."

The gala will be from 4 to 7 p.m., Thursday at 905 S. Bridge Street. To learn more about the Victoria Art League or the art gala event, please contact the league by calling 361-572-0825.