The local art scene is growing, and a new gallery at Emory Place plans to give artists from across the country the opportunity to exhibit their work in Knoxville.
The Pivot Point Fine Art Gallery will showcase works by local, regional and national artists in a variety of styles in the historic 15 Emory Place building, built shortly after the Civil War. The gallery, owned by Faith Ferguson and Don Stoner, opens at 5 p.m. Friday to align with events on Knoxville’s First Friday.
“We all want to have art and love to have art, and some of these people really deserve to be able to make a living from it,” Stoner said. “I give them a ton of credit for doing it and making it happen, and we just want to facilitate that.”
Six buildings at Emory Place were purchased for $2.2 million by the family of Orel Brodt in October 2020. Longtime Knoxville real estate investors purchased the property with the goal of transforming the area into a cohesive and thriving arts community.
An ‘oh wow’ space
The first floor of the gallery serves as an art showroom, while the second floor has been converted from an apartment into additional gallery space. The second floor has a view of Gay Street and can also be rented out for events, from dinner rehearsals to business meetings.
“Usually we get this ‘oh, wow,’ when people get to that landing,” Ferguson said. “Because it’s a spectacular space.”
There’s plenty of space for large meetings in Knoxville, Ferguson said, but she thinks the old apartment could fill a need for smaller gatherings. The space comprises several rooms, including a kitchen and a bathroom.
A colorful story
Pivot Point House is over 130 years old and has a long, colorful history of previous tenants.
From 1890 the building housed the Whittle and Spence Trunk Company for about 15 years before becoming a post office. The second floor was the residence of former postmaster James A. Ashe, one of Knoxville’s first five postmen.
The original floors are still intact and the story caught the attention of Stoner and Ferguson.
“It’s an incredible building, and that’s what got us into action now,” Stoner said. “We were talking about starting an art gallery, but we were thinking about it more this summer, but it became available. It came together in 12 weeks, basically.”
A room for each person
Stoner and Ferguson also envision Pivot Point as a place where experienced art collectors buy their latest piece – or newcomers buy their first.
“It doesn’t have to be a valuable piece to have value and mean something to the individual,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson and Stoner said people could pay between $100 and $22,000 for an artwork.
Pivot Point offers a wide creative variety, from photorealistic paintings to ceramic jacks. Whether someone is buying or viewing, Stoner believes art is best experienced in person.
“It looks great on a computer screen, but standing in front of one – you can’t quite appreciate it,” he said of a painting. “And a lot of our art is like that.”
To visit pivotpointgallery.com for information on featured artists, times and more.