Spread the love

By Sonny Jones

Torie Nealy knows Bladen County has many talented artists. Now, as the new curator of the Bladenboro Visual Art Gallery, she plans on giving those painters, photographers and crafters a welcoming place to display their work.

The gallery has planned a reopening Saturday, March 11 from 2-4 p.m. inside the Bladenboro Historical Building on South Main Street. The gallery is located on the second floor. Refreshments will be served.


“I’m hoping we’ll have a good turnout on Saturday,” said Nealy, who believes there’s “definitely” a large enough art community in Bladen County to support the gallery. “I’ve had about 10 artists reach out to me already about displaying their work.”

The gallery used to have regular showings on weekends prior to COVID-19. The pandemic decreased traffic and interest. Now, with life returning to more normal status as COVID-related orders are eased, Nealy hopes that people will return to visiting the gallery.

“I wanted to do a reopening of the gallery to showcase that we are revamping and trying to bring in new people and generate traffic,” Nealy said. “We’re doing things differently this time.”

Among those changes will be a center for artists that will include information about grants, professional schools and career opportunities. There’s new furniture that makes for an inviting atmosphere and plans continue to evolve.

The gallery has a permanent display of artwork from past years.

Nealy, who is a West Bladen High School graduate, is enrolled at Bladen Community College with plans to become an art teacher. “It’s something I really enjoy,” she said.

On Facebook, Nealy posted “I have always had a love for all things creative … I would love to get the word out that there is an Art Gallery in Bladenboro that can be utilized by locals who share a passion for art as I do. I would love to see the Gallery flourishing and full of life like it was years ago. I would love to get the schools involved again. I remember when I was in middle school we would have an art competition and ribbons would be placed on the winner’s paintings. Art is such a great outlet for adults and children the same. Let’s get together and celebrate Art and the History of the Bladenboro Historical Museum!”

Nealy is president of the Bladenboro Visual Arts Council, Henry Singletary is vice president and Brittany Jackson is secretary.

For more information about the gallery call 910-863-3655 or 910-633-8166, email BladenboroHistoricalBuilding@yahoo.com or visit Bladenboro Historical Building/Museum on Facebook.