BCAC gift shop offers regional delights
Published 8:28 pm Wednesday, April 8, 2015
The Turnage Theater is a haven for folks who enjoy a live stage production, but since it became home to the Beaufort County Arts Council in early 2014 the theater also shines its spotlight on the visual arts.
The BCAC gift shop and gallery is just one example.
“The arts council has always had some kind of gift shop beginning in the late 1970s,” said Joey Toler, BCAC executive director. “We really formally had a gift shop in the 1980s when the Lane Gift Shop and Gallery was dedicated.”
The shop and gallery, named after the late Louise and Harold Lane, is brimming with a wide variety of works by regional artists. Louise Lane founded the arts council in 1972, according to Toler.
“We had a gift shop and gallery mainly so local artists could show and sell their work,” said Toler, referring to the days before Washington became a bit of an artists’ mecca and other galleries opened. “But by the time we moved to the Turnage there were several galleries downtown.”
To offer a more varied selection of art, the decision was made to limit BCAC space to artists who were not represented in other galleries in the immediate area.
“Many local artists already had a place to show and sell their work, so we decided to change our approach and take a more regional approach,” Toler explained. “We love our local artists … if they’re already in a gallery downtown, that’s good, so let’s save a space for other artists who are not downtown.”
But that doesn’t mean Beaufort County artists are being excluded, Toler added.
“We still show local artists; in fact, if a local artist works in several different mediums they may show their pottery at one gallery and we might show their jewelry, or vice versa,” Toler said.
The arts council recruits some of the gallery’s artists through the annual BCAC Fine Arts Show. Toler has also invited artists after viewing their work in other venues throughout eastern North Carolina.
“If I see something that is unique, if we don’t already have something and it’s reasonably priced and I think it would be attractive to our buyers, I’ll ask them if they wouldn’t mind showing some work in our gallery,” Toler said. “We’re always looking for new work. I ask artists to contact us by email first and share some photos of their work.”
Of the Beaufort County-produced art currently displayed in the Lane Gallery, perhaps the most interesting are the sculptures crafted by Pinetown farmer/artist Haywood Singleton. Each sculpture is fashioned from bits and pieces of materials usually found on a farm, including lengths of chain, old springs and tools. Those sculptures share gallery space with handcrafted pottery, photography, painted bricks, hand painted silk scarves, jewelry, needlepoint art, paintings, prints, notecards, decoys and books.
The Beaufort County Arts Council is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Beginning Memorial Day weekend Sunday hours from noon to 4 p.m. will be added to the schedule, according to Toler.
For more information, call 252-946-2504 or visit www.beaufortcountyartscouncil.org.