Thursday, July 7, 2016

New Slidell art gallery offers more than wall art: Artists' Galleries de Juneau

Co-founder Julie Juneau
A new gallery of art and handcrafted gift items celebrated a Grand Opening on May 12 in the Olde Towne Slidell, LA.. Artists’ Galleries de Juneau, begun by Julie and Paul Juneau, presents a wide array of art styles and media in sizes ranging from fit in the palm of your hand to hang it with lag bolts. The shop operates in a co-op format, with artists taking turns “tending the store” to help keep costs down

The sign over the entrance welcomes visitors to the gallery at 2143 First Street in Olde Towne Slidell, part of the arts and cultural district in the Louisiana community. The location provides easy access to shopping, food and museums.

The objective, says co-founder Julie Juneau, is " provide an affordable space for artists to display their art" as well as to keep art affordable for consumers. Whether they purchase for personal use or as gifts of art for others, shoppers at the gallery can be sure their purchases are handcrafted in the USA. Because the store operates as a cultural center, all purchases are exempt from sales tax every day.

Buyers can choose from original art works as well as prints. Jewelry, ceramics, wood and books by local authors grace the walls, shelves, counters and ceilings of the shop in novel arrangements. Although brimming with merchandise, the welcoming flow allows patrons to move through the displays with ease. There is no rush to move people through, only a warm greeting and offer of availability if any questions arise.

Although the quality of the art is taken seriously, the store offers charming touches of whimsy, such as the artist mannequin in her paint-spattered apron in the front window. 

Elsewhere in the store, visitors will find animal themed clocks with pendulum tails, carvings from plywood and wearable art in the form of colorful T-shirts decorated with men’s ties.

Artists range in age and style, offering a rainbow of choices for buyers. Jaime Ortega,converting a cement-cutting saw blade into work of art, thinks of painting as a stand up activity, one of careful pre-planning followed by a whirlwind of activity to execute the plan. His paintings tend toward impressionistic themes which draw the viewer into the work. Both Ortega’s original paintings and prints of his works are available.

Jewelry from several artists includes decorative eyeglass chains, necklaces, earrings, and more. Several cases in the shop display the jeweler’s craft, as well as hangings throughout the store. Designs include gemstones and manufactured beads. Ranging from formal to fun, the jewelry provides beautiful, portable art gifts created in America.

The Juneaus recognize books by local authors as art forms and have volumes by J. Steven Spires, Leif Nedland Pedersen and Michelle Hirstius among others. Hirstius’ children’s series features JuJu, a voodoo doll who comes to life by the magic of good deeds. Geared to a first grade reading level, JuJu books were inspired by a painting Hirstius did. Also available are handcrafted JuJu dolls, sewn by women throughout Louisiana.

Artist Tiffany Angel shared the first in a series of city scenes, as one of the artists present at the grand opening. Angel enjoys using media such as salt, flower petals, India ink and coffee along with the traditional paints to create vibrant, unusual depictions of the streets of a typical city. Her orange cat shows up in many of her works.

Originally appeared on 06/09/2015 at

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