Ralph Waldo Emerson perhaps said it best: “Every artist was first an amateur.” Every day, an emerging artist is born, and it’s the mission of many visionary curators and gallery owners to seek out fresh new talent. At the opposite end of the spectrum, every day, an art collector is also born. Stemming from a wide variety of tastes and economic strata, these budding collectors often benefit from the fact that the work of up-and-coming artists is commonly affordable. With an art scene as vibrant as its skyline at night, Atlanta is representative of a wide array of galleries – showcasing everything from pricey oil paintings by internationally celebrated artists to inexpensive folk art finds created by relatively unknown promising young talents. The following list reveals five must-visit galleries for aspiring art lovers who may not be blessed with deep pockets.
Gregg Irby Fine Art
3725 Powers Ferry Road
Atlanta, GA 30342
By presenting the work of “emerging painters,” this Buckhead art gallery is able to sell fabulous pieces at affordable prices. Gregg Irby Fine Art seeks out promising new talent right here in its own backyard and far beyond Georgia’s borders to bring an eclectic array of art to its growing client base that includes everyone from newbies to the art scene to seasoned collectors. Based on the upward trajectory of an individual artist, the buyer can consider the work of art they purchase as an investment piece. Located behind the historic Sardis Church, gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and by appointment.
35 Howard St. S.E.
Atlanta, GA 30317
Representative of a number of mediums – glasswork, photography, etchings, relief prints, drawings, watercolors, oils, sculptures, mixed media and more – pb&j gallery is a self-proclaimed “contemporary, affordable art gallery for the emerging collector.” Located at Kirkwood Station in Atlanta’s Historic Kirkwood neighborhood, pb&j gallery hours are Thursday through Saturday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. during exhibitions. At times when exhibitions are not running, prospective art buyers are asked to call for an appointment.
636 N. Highland Ave. N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30306
MINT is unique in that it is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization “dedicated to providing a networking conduit for Georgia’s art communities.” In doing so, it has also created a gallery filled with the works of emerging and varied talents from all over the Southeast. Located in the Old Fourth Ward district of Atlanta, MINT Gallery is open Wednesday through Sunday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. – although interested parties should keep on the lookout for special exhibit openings and classes that fall outside of regular gallery hours.
659 Auburn Ave. N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30312
Art comes in many forms. As Atlanta’s “premier glassblowing studio,” Janke Studios represents a stunning opalescent tribute to glassworks. In addition to a gallery that showcases everything from functional works of art – such as pendant lights, chandeliers, tumblers, pitchers and vases – to full “blown” signature pieces, Janke Studios also offers glass-blowing classes and studio rental. Students of the classes that range anywhere from three hours to five weeks in length will have the unique opportunity of creating their own work(s) of art. The gallery and studio are both located in downtown Atlanta at Studioplex in the Old Fourth Ward.
Wild Oats & Billy Goats
112 E. Ponce de Leon Ave.
Decatur, GA 30030
Established in 2010 on Decatur’s historic town square, Wild Oats & Billy Goats has made an indelible mark on the city’s thriving art community. As unique and original as its name might suggest, this procurer of “folk art and funky finds” sells nearly every art medium imaginable – from distinctive wearable art to sculptures wrought from re-purposed materials. In addition to showcasing the works of local and regional artists, Wild Oats & Billy Goats is dedicated to fostering a new generation of artists through the provision of kids birthday parties, workshops for emerging artists of all ages and special events.
Kasie Bolling is a freelance writer covering all things Atlanta. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.