Guest Blog Submission by Lori Cogan, Bristol, VA
I am an artist at heart. If I could quit my marketing job tomorrow, I’d grow out my gray hair, put it in a bun on top of my head, don a smock, and turn my home office into a studio. Ah, well, that will have to wait another decade or so. In the meantime, I enjoy the artistic endeavors of others. And if it’s really good, I just revel in it.
Such was the case when I ventured through Artist’s Row shops and studios in downtown Augusta last week.
Artists’ Row was started in 1994 as part of Augusta’s revitalization project in the historic buildings along Broad Street. According to their website, www.augustaartistsrow, Galleries, working art studios, specialty shops, restaurants and coffee houses have flourished in the beautiful historic district. There are close to a dozen shops that are part of this destination shopping experience.
A couple truly stood out for me. A quiet walk through Gallery on the Row admiring the original jewelry, paintings and handcrafts turned into a party when we got to the display of Margaret Ann Smith’s work. My colleague Melissa and I literally started jumping up and down clapping at what hung on the wall before us. It was a riot of color—and the style was part Dali, part Escher, part Van Gough—yet all Margaret Ann Smith. What was most delightful was that her artwork depicted historic, architectural and happy scenes all around Augusta. The gallery manager was happy to tell us all about the artist, which gave us a deeper appreciation for the work. Our favorite was titled, “Round Midnight at the Clock, ” but we loved them all. We promptly bought a set of all the images printed on note cards.
I also enjoyed every moment I spent in Art on Broad, especially talking with owner. It’s evident she loves her artists and their work brings her daily joy. She gushed right along with me about some of the pieces I was admiring out loud. And I could tell she wasn’t just being polite.
There were little pieces of art easy to buy—great tiny finds—like button rings for $2 and beautifully textured clay magnets 3 for $12. When I picked a couple of rings as fun gifts to bring home to friends, the owner insisted on boxing and bagging them beautifully with tissue as if they cost 20 times as much.
On the other end of the investment scale were gorgeous painted canvases, unique copper bricks covered with graphics and inspirational messages, whimsical colorful pottery…and so much more. There were items priced in-between, as well, of course. Melissa purchased a beeswax honey pot candleholder for her mother. A quirky clock insisted I take it home. It now hangs in my office, a reminder that someday it will hang in my own art studio. And that makes me smile.
I highly recommend a trip to Artist’s Row. It’s just the right place to find something that will make you smile. And when you do…take it home. It will be time and money so very well spent.
Broad Street – Downtown Augusta, Georgia