New gallery to showcase local, regional talent

Published 9:32 am Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The upturned glass awning outside what will soon be the gallery Thou Art is just a clue that what’s inside will be unique.
“Everyone asks me about that awning,” said owner Emmie Jernigan. “I just wanted it to grab people’s attention. It’s that one-of-a-kind, forward-thinking feel. It’s modern.”
Thou Art will be open by Nov. 17, but the gallery is not just about traditional art in frames. Jernigan said she believes art exists in many areas — including jewelry and unique clothing.
The gallery and store will feature unique pieces at just about every price point, from handmade $12 earrings and bracelets to more expensive, one-of-a-kind paintings and other artwork.
“This is something I have wanted to do for a long time,” Jernigan said. “I love the art, clothes, shoes. I do think dressing is a way of expressing ourselves.”
While Jernigan won’t have an extensive line of clothing, she will have a couple of unique lines, as well as a line of cowboy boots.
Much of the artwork will be from local and regional artists, including some from Jernigan’s hometown, Selma.
Among the Selma artists are the “Tin Man,” Charlie Lucas, who creates unique pieces from tin and other everyday objects, and Vernon Spicer, who creates and paints using various pasta shapes.
Jernigan’s son, Lyon, who inspired a large art show in 2010 to benefit coastal organizations helping in the wake of the oil spill, will also have some artwork in the gallery. His talent belies his 11 years.
Meeting with artists has been a pleasure, Jernigan said.
“They’re all very soulful,” she said.
While work continues on the new building — which has been supervised by Rusty Miller of Turning Leaf Construction — Jernigan’s home has been turned into temporary storage for all of the artwork and other pieces that will be in the store.
In addition to handmade jewelry and art pieces, there is the Dang Chicks clothing line — mainly T-shirts, some Christmas ornaments and deocrative pieces and a line of skincare called EVOO. Originally designed for cancer patients, the line uses aloe and olive oil as ingredients and donates part of its proceeds to cancer research.
But Thou Art will be about more than selling artwork and jewelry, Jernigan said. She hopes to offer art lessons as well as quarterly “jam sessions” featuring local musicians as well as artists.
“This is about encouraging the community — adults and children — who want to explore art,” she said.
Thou Art will be open in time for the Brewton Holiday Kickoff on Nov. 17. Hours will be 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
The building, located on Douglas Avenue next to Wendy Folmar’s State Farm office, will also eventually house the Yancey Jernigan Foundation.
The foundation, established after Emmie’s husband died last summer, was set up to help cancer patients in Escambia County.
Several fundraisers for the new organization have already been held, with a 5K set for Saturday, Nov. 12, at 8 a.m.
The race — which welcomes walkers — will begin at the YMCA.

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