The Lost Pearl

VCEDA Executive Director Jonathan Belcher (center) presents a ceremonial check to Lost Pearl Gallery owners representing the seed capital matching grant funding the gallery received.

TAZEWELL, Va. — From paintings to hand-crafted jewelry, and glass work to basket weaving, the Lost Pearl Gallery in North Tazewell has a little something for everyone.

The Lost Pearl Gallery, LLC was recently approved for a $10,000 Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) Seed Capital Matching Grant which its six owner/artists all agreed assisted in getting the new space set up for the gallery, which specializes in providing fine art collectibles and quality handmade products and services related to the arts.

The gallery, a for-profit limited liability company formed in Virginia in November 2018, located at 587 Freedom Ave., officially opened its doors in December 2018 as an artists’ collaborative venture.

The venue moved to a new location earlier this spring, celebrating a grand reopening in April with plans to continue to grow both as a tourist destination, as well as a place local residents visit– and purchase – the variety of items the gallery has on display.

“VCEDA was pleased to approve the seed capital grant funding for the Lost Pearl Gallery,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “The Lost Pearl Gallery provides an opportunity for local residents and tourists alike to grow in their appreciation of the arts and provides employment, not only through the operation and staffing of the gallery, but as a venue for local artists to display and sell their works, thereby providing additional opportunities for them to grow their own art businesses.”

The gallery has five owners, including Shirley “Pawnee” Jewell, Nancy Greever Brooks, Esther “Sarah” Lowe, Betty Armentrout and James D. Hale, all of whom live in Tazewell County and surrounding areas and who represent a variety of artistic disciplines, including painting, glass work, basket weaving, fiber art, songwriting and recording, jewelry making, woodworking and writing.

“The VCEDA seed capital matching grant helped us tremendously,” Jewell said. “Through it we were able to purchase our moveable walls in the gallery which provide not only a place to display our paintings or other wall art, but which also provide us with storage space.”

The gallery owners worked with Margie Douglass with the Small Business Development Center at Southwest Virginia Community College in developing their business plan and application to VCEDA for the grant funding.

In addition to the items on display during regular business hours, the gallery also hosts periodic shows, like the recently complete Nostalgia Show it hosted over Memorial Day weekend. From time to time, the venue issues a call to all artists, seeking submissions for new art, which are then juried and, if selected, put on display.

“That’s one way we keep things fresh,” Brooks said. “It allows our patrons to see work they might not have seen before. It’s very eclectic.”

The gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

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