The red brick storefront across the street from the Bakersville Public Library has been an integral part of the community for decades. Past incarnations include a car dealership in the early years of automobiles, a general dry goods store, thrift store, and dance and clay studios. Since 2012, the building has been home to Mica, a cooperative organization of 13 local artists who revived the interior and transformed the space into a sunny and welcoming fine contemporary craft gallery.
“It was a labor of love and creativity,” says original Mica member Gay Smith. “We sanded, painted and constructed pedestals and other displays, all on a shoestring budget.”
Since Mica’s conception, all participants have collectively managed and maintained the venue including financial management, marketing, building maintenance, display, point of sale operations and daily staffing. The gallery has gone from hosting occasional open houses to participating in monthly Art Walks coordinated with other downtown galleries and businesses. Members’ commitment to working cooperatively for nine years has sustained a group of artists dedicated to their art and to their community.
“Our members contribute both time and artwork to numerous local charities and organizations including the Bakersville Community Foundation, Mitchell County Animal Rescue, Penland School of Craft and Toe River Arts,” says Mica president Simona Rosasco.
Though the gallery’s door has yet to open for its ninth year of operation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the co-op’s collective strength and strong relationship with its civic-minded landlord have enabled Mica to maintain street visibility. The gallery has responded to the governor’s Stay At Home order by establishing Shop Mica Online with members pitching in to develop a shop-from-home internet presence at micagallerync.com/shop.
“Mica artists work with functional pottery, sculpture, glass, textiles, paintings, woodblock prints and jewelry.” says member JJ Brown. “The online store began showcasing five works per artist representing a range of price points and is now increasing that number to ten.”
Mica members look forward to safely reopening the gallery based on the governor’s guidelines and executive orders.
Mica is located at 37 Mitchell Ave, Bakersville. For more information, visit MicaGalleryNC.com or call 828.688.6422. Follow on Facebook at Mica Gallery NC, or on Instagram at micagallerync.