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    The Dickson Gallery of Fine Art, Jackson, Tennessee

"Dickson Gallery Art-i-versary celebrates solid year
of supporting the arts in downtown Jackson"
by Pete Johnson
December 1, 2005: The Jackson-Today


Dickson Gallery Art-i-versary celebrates solid year
of supporting the arts in downtown Jackson


By Pete Johnson
pete@jtoday.com

     This past Halloween weekend, Rachel Dickson of the Dickson Gallery of Fine Art dressed as a blind referee, leading a small parade through the streets of downtown Jackson to encourage passerby to participate in a 'Pub Crawl' with other Jacksonians in a sampling of the area's budding nightlife.
    In a way, Dickson's been doing this for years, refereeing relations between city officials and hopeful entrepreneurs in an effort to bring more business and consequently more life to the downtown area.


"The Dickson Gallery definitely has a positive impact on the growth of the arts in our community."

--Kathi Landon, JAC


     Dickson recently celebrated the 1-year anniversary of her gallery with an open house, which offered rare chances to meet some of the featured artists and included live music provided by Dr. Sax and violinists Audrey and Claire Hazlehurst.
    "Things are going great," Dickson said. "We started out a little slow, which is a given in any new business, but we turned the corner and the community of Jackson as embraced the gallery. We wouldn't be where





we are without the support of the community."
    Artists Leatha Frost and Mary Spellings were on hand to discuss their art and the influence of Dickson and her gallery on the community.
     "I think this kind of gallery is a very needed thing and I'm glad she's here," said Spellings, who has nearly a dozen paintings adorning the walls of the Dickson Gallery.
    At the time of the open house, nearly every inch of wallspace was filled, a testament to the volume of artistic representation in the city of Jackson and surrounding cities. But from a business standpoint, the gallery's growth has been exponential. The gallery held $60,000 worth of art when it opened in 2004. That figure has since ballooned to $115,000.
    "I've got all the art I can handle at this point," Dickson said. "We've got art here from all over West Tennessee now, but I've been getting more and more comments from people about the level of artistic talent in Jackson. We've tapped into a river of talent that has been flowing here all the time, it was just a matter of finding it, even though it turned out to be a mix of me finding them and them finding me."
    Dickson went looking for a suitable spot for her gallery in 2001, settling on a location three years later. She says she never would have guessed that the arts would be in such demand so soon.
    "If I had been asked 5 years ago if Jackson was ready for an arts scene, I would have laughed out loud, but one has emerged," she said.



    Dickson shares the downtown area with two other art galleries, including friendly competitor Marguerite's Fine Art Gallery. Marguerite's executive director Alicia McEarl was positive about her relationship with Dickson and the role of Dickson in the development of the downtown area.
    "From working with her at the Downtown Merchants Association meetings, she's the one who takes charge and does all the legwork, coordinating all the other businesses downtown," said McEarl.
    "It's very obvious when you talk to her that she's passionate about the arts. We motivate each other, and that's a good thing."
    For more information, call the Dickson Gallery at (731) 423-9708 or visit it on the Web at www.dicksongallery.com

 

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