Lillie Morris and Denise Norton are trying to bring a little of downtown Augusta's Artist Row to Columbia County with the recent opening of Broad Strokes Gallery at the Veranda in Evans.
The pair of artists, who own and operate the gallery, see arts moving to and growing in Columbia County and decided to be a part of it.
"It's a real exciting time," said Morris, who is one of the original partners of Broad Strokes, which opened on Broad Street in 2000. Norton joined as a partner nearly two years ago.
The gallery focuses on displaying and selling original artwork from featured artists, many of whom are Columbia County artists such as metalworker Tommy Lyles and portrait artist Christina Rice.
"There are some great artists out here," said Morris, who works with watercolor, oil, acrylic and pen and ink. "Original art just has a life. You can't explain it. It's like listening to live music versus a recording."
Changes in partnership led to the opportunity to move the gallery, which opened on Broad Street in 2000, to the Evans Towne Business Centre at 677-C N. Belair Road. The pink stucco faade gallery topped by an outdoor balcony opened Nov. 15, two weeks after the Broad Street location closed.
To celebrate the gallery opening, Morris and Norton are holding a grand opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday.
Featured artists - Rice, Lyles, Jim Tar, Lucy Weigle, Nancy Schultze, Karen Banker and David Stuart, alongside Morris and Norton - will be on hand to meet guests.
"We all have a different road to share," said Norton, who mainly produces commissioned watercolor and pastel portraits. "I think when people buy art, for the most part, they want to know the artist ... They get connected with (the artwork) or they wouldn't want to purchase it.''
On display in the second-floor gallery are some of Karen Bankers' wine collages, Weigle's abstract art, Rice's portraits, Schultz's loose watercolor, Tar's outdoor scenes, Lyles' metal work, portrait samples by Norton and Morris' paintings. Each artist will regularly change their works out. The pair also hope to have an outside artist to show in the gallery.
"Part of the excitement from the other artists is changing the work out," Norton said. "So their work will rotate and change, so there should always be something new and exciting to see."
Norton and Morris already have scheduled a Celtic Christmas concert featuring Celtic guitar musicians Robin Bullock and Steve Baughman at the gallery beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 7.
Norton said that she hopes to use the gallery to hold educational functions such as classes, art discussions and artist lectures and workshops.
Norton and Morris said that although the gallery has moved to Columbia County, they want to bring with it some of the creative atmosphere and support of Broad Street's Artist Row by supporting those galleries and businesses. They will offer references for commissioned art and all framing needs will be forwarded to Art on Broad.
"Artist Row had been good to us and we wanted to stay connected to them - individual artists and with Art on Broad with the framing," Norton said.
For more information, visit www.broadstrokesgallery.com or call the gallery at 860-6055.
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