BCAC shop showcases work by local artists

Published 9:59 am Friday, July 31, 2009

By By KEVIN SCOTT CUTLER Lifestyles & Features Editor
Paintings of the Inner Banks landscape share space with original Gullah dolls by Chocowinity artist Barbara Geesey.
A handcrafted, beaded necklace is the perfect accessory for a hand-painted silk wrap.
The Beaufort County Arts Council gift shop is a treasure trove of locally produced, one-of-a-kind items by area artists, according to BCAC Executive Director Joey Toler.
“It’s part of our mission to support local artists, and one way we do that is through our gift shop,” Toler said. “We allow local artisans and artists to display and sell their work, which is very important.”
The gift shop is located within the BCAC headquarters on Gladden Street in downtown Washington. In its current incarnation, it was dedicated in 1987 to Louise and Harold Lane in recognition of their efforts on behalf of the arts.
“Louise is the queen mother of the Arts Council,” Toler said.
The first gift shop was opened in an upstairs hallway of the former Atlantic Coastline Railroad building that houses the Arts Council headquarters, Toler said. It was later moved downstairs to the old baggage room, and it is now located in what was a waiting room for railroad passengers.
A year or so ago, members of the Arts Council’s gift shop committee worked diligently to refresh and update the space.
“I want to give kudos to the committee,” Toler said. “We actually cleared out the gift shop, and we restructured the guidelines to make the process a little more formal.”
Now, member artists may exhibit up to six pieces at a time; if an item remains for more than six months without a sale, the artist is asked to replace it. Toler estimated that 90 percent of the exhibiting artists live in Beaufort County.
The current inventory includes original paintings, art prints, hand painted silk items, jewelry, pottery, duck decoys, original dolls, fiber art, wood crafts, stained-glass pieces, artist greeting cards and historical postcards of local interest.
Also available for purchase are local cookbooks, including the Arts Council’s own “Plate &Palette” and books by Beaufort County area writers.
The gift shop helps keep the Arts Council afloat.
“The shop is important to us. It’s a revenue stream for the Arts Council,” Toler said. “We want people to come in here and shop, not only to support the local artists, but to support the Arts Council, too.”
The Arts Council takes a 30-percent cut from each sale, Toler said.
“Other places get 40 or 50 percent or more, so we’re a deal as far as I’m concerned,” he said.
The Lane Gift Shop is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s also open during some special events, including DWOW’s monthly artisan market and Music in the Streets. For more information, call 252-946-2504.