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New gallery focuses on North Carolina artists

BELHAVEN — Seven friends who are patrons of the arts came together in Belhaven to launch “belle arts gallery.”

The gallery held its gala grand opening April 26.

Corki Leverett, Yvonne Deruiz, Karen Wahab, Sandy Landy, Misa Raynor, Donna Frengs and Jean Lamkin are the belles behind the project. Their missions are many but one is to showcase artists from North Carolina.

Ironically, none of the seven are exhibiting artists at this time. The works of 11 artists are currently displayed and the mediums include photography, oils, acrylics, mixed media, watercolors, copper, pencil, sculpture and stained glass.

Among the featured pieces are paintings by the late Effie-Raye Goff, a mover and shaker on the Belhaven arts scene a few decades ago.

“We have the last of her collection here,” Leverett shared. “She taught and won numerous awards.”

Goff’s legacy is in good hands at “belle arts gallery.”

“We want to bring the arts back to Belhaven,” Leverett said. “There are shops here with crafts but nothing with fine arts.”

A love of art is a vital part of the project.

“We all have a passion for the arts and we want to share that with others,” noted Deruiz.

While working, the seven belles don specially designed smocks and their signature strings of pearls. Their slogan is “Art is life’s dessert.”

Opening the gallery is bringing the belles personal satisfaction as well as new friends.

“Part of the fun has been meeting the different artists,” Leverett said.

The gallery is located at 211 Pamlico St. in Belhaven. Current hours are Thursdays from noon to 5 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, from noon to 7 p.m. and Sundays, from noon to 3 p.m., as well as by appointment. For more information, call 252-943-7722 or email belleartsinc@gmail.com.

BLUE GILL: Oil painting by Eileen Sanger (Kevin Scott Cutler)

SUNSET CRABS: Mixed media by Heike Winfield (Kevin Scott Cutler)

PANTEGO OLD ACADEMY: Watercolor by Effie-Raye Goff (Kevin Scott Cutler)

MUSE 1, 2 & 3: Clay sculptures by Jenny Mastin (Kevin Scott Cutler)

MERFRIENDS: Acrylic with Swarovski detail by Angel Fritz (Kevin Scott Cutler)

CALLING ANGELS: Steel sculpture by Jordan Parah (Kevin Scott Cutler)