JC Morgan Art Gallery opened in the old Pac Sun store in Quintard Mall in November. Its owners, self-taught artists Jackie and Shane Morgan of Oxford, had been looking for a gallery to display their works, but found the venues in Atlanta and Birmingham to be too expensive.
"We both really love art and were looking for a place to exhibit, and there's not a lot of local places to exhibit," said Shane. "By opening our own gallery, we can help other people exhibit as well."
Jackie, Shane's wife, specializes in painting, and has exhibited in several shows, including ones in Birmingham, and at Noble Street Festival and Oxfordfest. Shane has worked mostly with sculptures and 3-D art, including wire flowers, but has recently followed Jackie's footsteps and ventured into painting.
The Morgans are focusing on displaying local artists of all kinds, from painters to sculptors, and would like to see more non-traditional art in their gallery, such as jewelry, glasswork, woodwork and ceramics.
"We are very open-minded to different styles of art," Shane said. "We believe there is no such thing as classifications of art — it's all just art."
Artists pay a set-up fee for their display, and then all works are sold on consignment. This method, as opposed to a cooperative or paying for an exhibit in a large gallery, makes it easier for lesser-known artists to get their art out.
"It costs a lot more to display in other larger markets and a lot of artists from rural areas have a hard time getting into those markets," Shane said. "Our gallery is a stepping stone … to get (artists) into those large markets."
The gallery proved to be a perfect opportunity for Jacksonville State University art student Lee Law. He has to have a certain amount of shows for his resume, and the gallery's discount fee for students made it possible for him to display his abstract oil paintings.
"It's definitely a plus, because there's not that many (galleries) in this town," Law said.
Sales so far have been good, Jackie said. The gallery sold about 25 pieces over the Christmas shopping season.
In addition to the displays, the gallery will also offer art classes for adults, teenagers and children beginning Jan. 18. Different artists who are currently on exhibit will teach the classes. There is also a "Meet the Artist" event each month, where the public can come and look at the art and talk to the artists. The first session takes place Jan. 16 from 6-9 p.m.
Artists interested in displaying their works can bring a portfolio by the gallery or visit the Web site at www.jcmorganart.com.