2007-09-26 / News

In the Eye of the Beholder

Art gallery owner sees opportunity in Midville
By Anne Marie Kyzer Staff Writer

Emily   Fulghum       opened     Seven     Cypress in  an effor to help    revitalize          downtown        Midville.         She hopes     antique       dealers       and other     small     businesses           will    follow.       Emily Fulghum opened Seven Cypress in an effor to help revitalize downtown Midville. She hopes antique dealers and other small businesses will follow. Just past the entrance to city hall, there lies an oasis among the tattered storefronts of Midville.

In the midst of the historic downtown, a simple sign and cutout of an alligator head hang above a pair of bright teal double doors. Inside lies an eclectic blend of sculptures, paintings and pottery crafted by area artists.

After months of restoration work, Seven Cypress Gifts and Gallery stands out from the remainder of the downtown façades, where shabby buildings loom over weed-ridden sidewalks.

Seven Cypress owner Emily Fulghum sees potential in Midville and is investing in its future. Fulghum sees an opportunity for the riverside community to become a daytrip shopping destination or a charming detour for the curious traveler.

"I wanted to do something in Midville," she explains. "We want to revitalize downtown and hope this is just a start."

  Seven Cypress Gifts and Gallery occupies the building adjacent         to city hall in downtown Midville. Seven Cypress Gifts and Gallery occupies the building adjacent to city hall in downtown Midville. Fulghum, who grew up in the area and took over her family's restaurant, Coleman Lake, in the '80s, believes antique stores and the like, along with the town's three restaurants, will be a good draw for small town tourists.

She's leading by example with her own venture, Seven Cypress, which is named for a spot on the Ogeechee River.

Her husband and relatives nearly gutted the store's interior, stabilizing floors and exposing beautiful brick walls behind aged plaster. They pulled away the plywood hiding the seven-paned transom windows that now illuminate the interior, and brought in truckloads of local artwork.

An ironwork sculpture of a dog by Willie Tarver of Wadley and an abstract chicken painted by Midville's own Wade Franklin beckon from the storefront windows.

Inside the gallery, patrons take in the full scope of Tarver's ironwork, along with cement sculptures by his wife, Mae. In addition to his other paintings, Franklin's earthen creations dot shelves and tables.

Seven Cypress offers a mixture of work by local artists and treasures Fulghum picks up at market. Prices for gifts and art range from $5 to $6,000. Seven Cypress offers a mixture of work by local artists and treasures Fulghum picks up at market. Prices for gifts and art range from $5 to $6,000. A large wooden bench crafted by Tim Goodson looms just inside the door. The bench, as with most of his furniture, jewelry boxes and sculptures, is made entirely from salvaged pine, plumbing parts and other remnants of old structures in the area. Goodson, who has spent most of his life there, speaks with enthusiasm about the new place to display his work.

"You have these little towns with real estate they want to save, and it's perfect for galleries like these," he said, commenting that often times the rent is a bargain.

Seven Cypress features pieces by other artists as well, some wellknown, some starting out. Eileene Dudley's painting of Seven Cypress on the river shares space with quilted wall hangings by Donna Gay. Black Water Pottery by Vicky Bernard of Coleman Lake and Cynthia Perry of Louisville offers a mixture of platters, vases, pitchers and plates.

Seeking to please everyone's palate, Fulghum offers other items she picks up at markets in Atlanta and North Carolina, as well as jewelry, candles and soaps. Price tags on Fulghum's assortment and the artists' creations range from $5 to $6,000. ART-GAZING OPPORTUNITIES

Seven Cypress Gifts and Gallery

Open: 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Thursday-Saturday

Fulghum is currently planning "Meet the Artist" receptions and sales that will also include many items not on display in the gallery. Dates and times are yet to be determined.

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