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Discover West Main Art Gallery & Studios

Posted by lacied on October 6, 2008

Located in historic downtown Statesboro is the eclectic West Main Art Gallery & Studios. A variety of art including original oils, acrylics, watercolors, pastels, jewelry, photography, pottery, and woodturning is amongst the many talents on display. The majority of the impressive works are also available for purchase in the gallery at quite affordable prices.

This co-op of local artists is owned and operated by five artists who came together when doing art shows at the Averitt Center for the Arts. Debbie Bailey, Sherri Hauser, Lesley Manning, and Michele and Bill Stephens came together in 2005 for their first Christmas show

“I started making jewelry as a hobby when my son went off to Bootcamp”, said Sherri Hauser. She eventually had made so many pieces she couldn’t wear them all. When she was given the opportunity to display her work at the Averitt Arts Center Christmas show she jumped at the chance.

They enjoyed being in the show so much, and had such a successful experience that they decided to have a second show during the holidays in 2006.

It was after that second show that the group really realized that they should go forward with their talents. “We were all sitting around talking about how it would be so great if we could have a gallery or studio set up year round to display our art, and I think Tim Chapman must have overheard us, because not long after that he approached us with his idea .” said Debbie Bailey.

Tim Chapman , Director of the Averitt Art Center, was so pleased with the success of their shows their shows that he encouraged them to open their own gallery downtown. In early 2007, Tim Chapman called and asked if they would be interested in opening a store front on West Main Street, he knew of a store at this great location that was available.

The artists met with Tim and the building owner, John Edwards, and toured the building, mixed emotions about the available space made the decision tough, but there was much potential for the store.

“The first thing we saw were lime green and fluorescent pink walls, a ceiling which was partially falling in, dirty red carpet on the floor and we won’t even discuss the bathroom” said Lesley Manning, a talented painter and specialist in stained glass.

The reactions from each individual artist were as varied as their talents. Some were skeptical of the run down building while others envisioned the beautiful gallery that it would become, but everyone knew the amount of work that was required to bring the building to life.

“I knew that brick had to be hiding behind those colorful walls, and once we pulled off the sheetrock, we found the brick, hooray!” said Bailey.

“After three months of renovation, the building was a completely different space, changed for the better” said Manning. Brick walls, track lighting along the top of the walls and crisp elegant wood floors created a space perfect for displaying their many talents.

Currently the art gallery is hosting their first art display, the Juried Photography Exhibition that will benefit the Raven Oaks Raptor Sanctuary. This wildlife themed show accepted entries o all ages in September, and is currently in the voting process to determine who will win the ‘Viewers’ Choice Award’. ‘Best in Show’ was awarded to E.A. Sosbe for her photograph, “When Sea Turtles Dream”. The ‘Gallery Choice Award’ was given to Mary M. Jones for her photograph, “Pine Pieces”. Don’t miss out on this exciting event t the gallery and stop by and cast your vote this month to help determine who will win the final award.

The next presentation of the West Main Art Gallery and Studios will take place next month. From November 7th through the 30th, The Folk School Invitational with be on display with 30 potters and 30 teachers from the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC who will proudly exhibit their talents in pottery, you won’t want to miss it. For more information contact Michele Stephens at 764-2203.

The future of the Art Gallery is looking bright, in less than a month the gallery will expand to twice its size as it is currently renovating the building next door. The new space will allow the gallery to spread out; future shows and exhibitions will be held in the new space as well as classes that will be offered by the artists themselves.

The gallery plans to offer these classes in an assortment of art forms including stained glass, silver and goldsmith-ing, woodturning, pottery, drawing, beading and hand painted photography. Debbie Bailey is currently offering to teach her handinting skill and is holding a class on Saturday October 18 that is open to the public. For more information contact Debbie at 682-7130.

To fund the growth of the classes, and to offer some of them them free of charge the gallery has applied for a grant from the Grassroots Arts Program, and is looking forward to growing the studio and gallery as well as its impact on the community.

Strolling through the streets of downtown Statesboro is perfect for any occasion, and with shops and restaurants and places like the West Main Art Galley and Studios, it is something you will want to make part of your weekly routine. Plentiful parking can be found close to the studio, and the surroundings in the town are a breath of fresh air. Be sure to stop in to the gallery on your next visit downtown, there is something for everyone to enjoy and you might just discover your hidden talents at West main Art Gallery and Studios.

Painting by Lesley Manning

Painting by Lesley Manning


One Response to “Discover West Main Art Gallery & Studios”

  1. lacied said

    Photo credit did not get onto the blog, but this beautiful painting is by Lesley Manning.

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