An Artistic Community Takes Shape on the Square

Feature article, Fayette Woman, December 2009

Fayetteville’s historic Courthouse Square recently received a wonderful addition to its already charming downtown. Nestled halfway down the block of turn-of-the-century storefronts on Stonewall Avenue is ArtWorks on the Square, a co-operative art gallery.

Inside, the ArtWorks Gallery’s offerings are displayed in nineteen small, individual studios. Visitors are encouraged to explore the studios, which encompass a wide range of artistic media available for purchase: paintings, photography, jewelry, graphic design, folk art, comic strip art, stained glass windows, oil paintings, impressionistic art, family portraits, natural and wildlife photography, family photography, modern Gen-X art, hand-knit items, and recycled art.

The individual studios feed into an open reception area with comfortable lounge chairs and gallery walls that display paintings, sculptures, turned wood objects, ceramics and pottery. Off the reception area is a separate gallery that features art, sculpture, pottery and jewelry by other local artisans who do not rent studios.

The artists come from a variety of backgrounds; some, like photorealistic wildlife watercolors artist Dylan Scott Pierce, have garnered national attention (Pierce has been featured in National Geographic), while others are also known in the community for their “day jobs,” like photographer Chad Meyers (a local sheriff) and jewelry artisan Sandy Garrison (owner of the former Bead Bungalow).

Besides its impressive range of artistic offerings, what is equally charming about ArtWorks is its newest addition, the ArtPerks Café, a social space where visitors can relax, talk, sip coffee or tea and access Wifi. The cafe, which overlooks the Courthouse Square and clock tower, offers sandwiches and pastries from the City Café and Bakery (another of downtown Fayetteville’s treasures), gourmet chocolates from Oh! Chocolate in Peachtree City, rich and creamy cheesecakes from the Cheesecake Boutique on Hwy. 85, and plum preserves and pound cakes from Plum Crazee. Visitors are welcome to buy a used book (25¢), bring their laptops, meet with writing groups or book clubs, or just stop by to relax and converse.

Finally, ArtWorks on the Square offers art classes and workshops in a large, sky-lit classroom (offerings are posted at www.ArtWorksonthesquare.com). During the day on Wednesdays, the room becomes an open studio for anyone who wishes to come and paint with friends, a sort of “artist’s day out”.

ArtWorks is the brainchild of Kathaleen Brewer, a transplant from Southern California, who feels strongly that a well-educated and financially stable county such as ours should have an art gallery or an art center, and that there is a highly talented artistic community to support it. “The quality of work that keeps coming through the door is more than equal to anything I’ve seen out West or on the northside of Atlanta,” says Kathaleen.

ArtWorks looks to the local community to offset some of its expenses by offering yearly memberships. “It takes a community of people to get things done, especially when it is such a grass roots venture,” notes Kathaleen. In turn, however, the gallery supports Promise Place, the Humane Society and Cause for Paws by displaying their donation boxes and literature. ArtWorks also recently joined forces with Cross Roads Youth Initiative, a non-profit organization that provides funding for middle and high school students who would like to take art classes after school but cannot afford them.

Although Kathaleen faced her share of hurdles in opening an art gallery during a severe economic downturn, she’s certainly come out on top. “It is a win-win situation. What was an empty building in the downtown is now occupied and filled to the brim with art,  artists on the Southside now have affordable studio space, and together we are able to continue to provide Fayette County with an outstanding art gallery and continuing art education.”

Sidebars

In the studios:

  • Chad Meyers, family, sports and nature photography
  • Sandy Garrison, custom designed jewelry
  • Leonard Chapman, close-up nature and wildlife photography
  • Cindy Quamme, recycled art, paintings and graphic design
  • Scott Ash, international landscape photography
  • Juvaes Stratton, modern Gen-X art
  • Gina Byrom, brightly colored folk art
  • Sally Herman, impressionistic oil paintings
  • Ed McKeogh III, classic comic strip art
  • Debbie Donathan, mosaic stained glass windows
  • Laura Harvey, an assortment of art mediums
  • Dylan Scott Pierce, photorealistic wildlife watercolors
  • Domingo Solis, found-object art
  • Lou Solis, family, landscape and event photography
  • Jeremy Sommer, architectural design
  • Karen Bultman, photography

In the reception area and mixed-art gallery:

  • Andrew Bones, bronze frogs
  • Daryl Rickard, turned wood objects
  • Andrea Boswell, utilitarian slab pottery pieces
  • Pam Green, artistic gourds
  • Kim Gutherie, playful acrylic paintings for children’s rooms
  • Rachel Cold, pottery and portrait bust sculptures
  • Julie Peterson, old-world still-life and portrait oil paintings
  • Robert Vaillencourt, raku pottery.
  • Gertrude Smart. black Americana paintings
  • Olga Mossina Wildman, cubist paintings.
  • Dana Johnson, plein-air oils from around the Sharpsburg area and
  • Dan Garcia, color pencil work.
  • Shannon Dunzan Fowler, polymer clay jewelry, prints and etchings.
  • Linda McCarry, over-sized geometric abstracts accented with natural elements