As a mosaic artist and a lifelong Charlotte resident, Pam Goode, 58, noticed that there were not a lot of opportunities for local mosaic artists to display their work.
In 2008, Goode decided to open a gallery for a year to provide a venue for rotating exhibitions “so that artists could learn how to present their works for competition and build their resume.”
That one year turned into another and another and Ciel, the gallery Goode originally opened in a small space in South End, is still going strong.
By 2011, Ciel had “grown in both vision and scope,” Good says “so we needed a bigger space.”
Goode also realized it was a good time to bring in partners. When Ciel opened up in its new South End space, Goode was joined by Teresa Hollmeyer, 43, Tina Alberni, 44, and Vick Hanson-Burkhart, 48.
The four partners were able to expand Ciel’s scope, adding classes and workshops and a retail store for artwork, pieces and supplies and commissioned work.
The gallery consists of monthly juried shows, each involving 30-40 different artists. They showcase both local artists and artists from all over the world who use an array of mediums, including jewelry, pottery, metal sculptures, paintings and glass mosaics.
All four partners are also working artists, with each one having a different specialty. Goode, Hollmeyer and Hanson-Burkhart are all mosaic artists, with Hollmeyer specializing in glass on glass and Hanson-Burkhart working primarily in smalti (Italian glass). Alberni is a mixed artist who specializes in painting. They all offer classes and workshops in their areas of expertise.
Ciel also offers visiting artist workshops, providing local artists with an opportunity to learn from well-known artists from around the country.
For Goode, a perk of taking on partners has been her ability to expand Ciel’s community outreach and community projects. They are overseeing a South End public art sculpture involving 50 artists from around the world (an 8-by-14 foot mural on the side of their building); and working with other nonprofits like the Women’s Commission (a community service organization focused on domestic violence) and Lifespan (a nonprofit that cares for developmentally disabled adults) to create art work for them.
For Ciel’s partners, sharing their expertise with the public has been a highlight of their partnership.
“There is a real camaraderie between the artists and the people who take the classes,” Alberini says.
For Hollmeyer, educating the community about mosaics, showing the public that mosaics “are beautiful artwork and are not just kitchen backsplashes,” has also been gratifying.
Goode picked the name for her enterprise because “it is the French word for sky,” she says, and she liked the idea of the sky is the limit.
“My plan was to do something nice for the mosaic community,” Good says, and she only planned to dedicate a year to it.
“It has grown so much beyond what I had hoped for it,” says Goode.
Katya Lezin is a freelance writer. Do you have a story idea for Katya? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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