WAXHAW – From Easter Sunday 2011 to Good Friday 2012, Jane and David Hunt worked hard to find a new home for their beloved Eight Legs Gallery.
The gallery was first started by Tom and Daisy Risser in 2003. In 2004, the Hunt’s purchased Devine Custom Frame, which shared space with the gallery, and in 2009 they took over the gallery to continue the Rissers’ mission.
“We all believe art is inside everyone and we wanted to get artists to come and display their work and not charge them for the space,” Jane Hunt said.
The Hunts explained they don’t charge their artists for wall or floor space, and only ask for a commission once a piece is sold.
The old location of the gallery on E. South Main Street was 5,000 square feet, but because of parking issues and the lack of pedestrian traffic, the Hunt’s struggled to get their artists the attention they deserved.
“The economy was hard on a lot of artists and the location wasn’t a great spot. We didn’t get the traffic we needed,” Jane Hunt said. “When artists don’t sell, they think it’s the gallery, but it was just the economy. From 2008 to 2011 it was tough. Art wasn’t selling, but we’ve seen a change and we see it in the frames, too. Because when you’re selling custom frames you know things are getting better. The last thing on people’s lists is frames and art. We take a lot of pride that we’ve survived.”
And the Hunts are hopeful their new location at 310 E. South Main St., just one door up from the Waxhaw Woman’s Club, will help boost traffic and recognition for their artists.
The Hunts had their eye on the 100-year-old home for years, and this was the original location the Rissers wanted when opening the gallery, but the price kept them away.
So while the economy may have made the going tough for the Hunts and their artists, it helped secure them their new home.
And while for the Hunts this new gallery is the perfect space, they did shrink in size. The old home is only 1,900 square feet. But a garage in the back has made the perfect frame shop, and there’s about 1 acre of land to display large sculptures and plenty of wall space inside.
The Hunts said the new space also will enable them to have more events and demonstrations. There’s also a larger parking lot and side-street parking off of McKibben Street, plus the location is completely walkable from downtown.
The gallery holds about five different artists right now, but the Hunts hope once artists get familiar with the new space they’ll get back up to 15 to 20 artists.
“We want artists to come check out the new location and see if this is where they want to be,” David Hunt said.
The Hunts said they are looking for any artist who has something original and unique to offer customers.
“Because that’s what people want to buy,” David Hunt said.
“We’re looking for painters, sculptors, potters, anything that’s unique and original, we’re not short on space,” Jane Hunt said. “We want to make Waxhaw a destination and we need galleries. We have Stewart’s and if we can add more, it will really be the place to be.”
Eight Legs Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.eightlegsartgallery.com.