Partnership puts local artists’ work in Gulf Coast gallery

Published 2:17 am Saturday, April 6, 2019

The Lower Alabama Arts Coalition is partnering with the Destin Pearl Gallery in Destin to give local artists the opportunity to showcase their talent on the Gulf Coast.

Kristy White, who is on the board of directors at the LAAC, said she was shopping when she stumbled across the gallery in the Destin Commons.

“I went down there on a shopping trip and met with the gallery manager Ken Behringer,” White said. “We struck up a conversation and shared ideas and came up with a way to feature each other’s artists so both communities win.”

White said that by partnering with the Destin Pearl, it allows the LAAC to support local emerging and established artists.

“We are so fortunate to have so many talented artists in our area and a community that understands and embraces the importance of all the arts,” White said. “Part of our purpose at the LAAC Arts Center is ‘supporting and encouraging local emerging and established artists,’ and this partnership allows us to do just that. Ken and his staff have been great to work with.  When you are in Destin, please stop in and shop at The Destin Pearl by the children’s play area in the Destin Commons!”

Destin Pearl gallery manager Ken Behringer said that the partnership is a great way to expose artists.

“After talking with her we just both thought that this would be a great idea,” Behringer said. “It is definitely important for us to expand and feature other artists in the area. It is great to be able to give these artists some exposure.”

Four artists from Andalusia currently are featured in the Destin Pearl, including Lynn Walker Starnes, Blakely Taylor, Denille Spears and T.J. Moore.

“Destin is one of my favorite places to be,” Starnes, said. “I have frequented Destin many times over the years and have not only enjoyed their beautiful beaches, but the fabulous art! I have long admired the artists from Okaloosa and South Walton Counties. To have my work featured in The Destin Pearl Gallery is an honor.”

Taylor paints more abstract art, but is excited to be featured in Destin.

“My work has been featured in Birmingham and Andalusia,” Taylor said. “So to be featured now with our Florida neighbors is very exciting.”

Spears said that she appreciates both galleries for giving her this opportunity.

“A progressive partnership like this enhances this art community and allows us to share ideas, events, teachers, and art,” Spears said. “I appreciate the LAAC and The Destin Pearl for giving me this opportunity.”

Moore has carvings of manta ray, swordfish, turtles and a jellyfish sculpture on display in Destin.

“This opportunity inspired me to create something new including sea-life carvings,” Moore said.

Behringer said that they are still just starting out, but he is looking forward to bringing more art.

“We have only swapped art once,” Behringer said. “But we both swapped a good selection of art and it is just the beginning. We are looking forward to seeing which artists does well and what people are looking at buying.”

The LAAC has classes offered weekly for kids and adults, a monthly reception featuring local artists, an open mic night quarterly and The Art of Kindness Summer Camp is in the works. Classes start at $15 and up depending on supplies, and they have art in every price range.