Higher Expectations

New gallery steps up for the Boys & Girls Club

By: Margaret Butler

Julie and Phil Wilmot at their gallery on 7th Avenue in Hendersonville.
Photo by Margaret Butler

When Julie and Phil Wilmot moved to Hendersonville three-and-a-half years ago, they were ready to put down deep roots – they wanted to make strong connections and contribute to the community.

Julie, an artist, also wanted to open a gallery where 3D art and large abstract pieces could be showcased, a genre that she felt was underrepresented in the area. Late last year, they launched Art on 7th Fine Contemporary Art Gallery. The museum-like space currently gives artistic voice to more than 14 local artists. 

After opening the gallery, they made plans to raise funds for a local nonprofit. The Wilmots chose Boys & Girls Club of Henderson County. Part of a long established and respected national program, the local club gives kids a safe place to go after school, with enrichment opportunities in arts, sports, and nutrition, as well as tutoring and job-preparedness opportunities.

In May, Art on 7th will conduct a campaign benefiting Boys & Girls Club. Select contemporary art — including paintings, metal sculptures, and blown glass — will be discounted ten to 25 percent.

Art on 7th specializes in large abstract pieces.
Photo by Margaret Butler

“The artwork we are discounting has been chosen because each piece is truly valuable and desirable,” Wilmot says. She notes that she has worked or volunteered in the nonprofit world all her adult life, so she knows “an unfortunate and common practice for artists and galleries is to donate art they have not been able to sell … their discards.” Not so here — the designated pieces at Art on 7th are valued around $38,000.

The gallery will also host a raffle for the club. Items will include four to five unique art pieces, including a wood-turned vessel donated by Joel Hunnicutt and an Art on 7th Art Curation Service consultation gift certificate. The discounted value from art sales, plus 100 percent of raffle sales, will be gifted to Boys & Girls Club at the end of the month.

Wilmot hopes the gallery’s campaign will inspire other small businesses to give back. Any gift is important, no matter the size, and creative fundraising works. 

To that end, the Wilmots plan to showcase student club members’ art in the gallery during May. “Who knows?” says Julie. “Maybe one of the children that we’re supporting through Boys & Girls Club will one day become an artist in my gallery.”

Art on 7th , 330 7th Ave. East, arton7th.com. Open Wednesday through Saturday, 11am-5:30 pm, and Sundays 12-4pm. Raffle tickets to benefit Boys & Girls Club of Henderson County (bgchendersonco.org) are $25 and can be purchased at the gallery.

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