Among the artwork at Gulf-South Gallery is a dramatic painting by Mary Jones of Liberty of a thunderstorm over rolling green pastures. Under it is the inscription, “Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,” from Hebrews 12:11.

The verse describes the whole gallery.

A customer standing in the hushed, sunlit building is indeed surrounded by a silent cloud of witnesses in the form of artists, dead and alive, local and nationally famous, who have expressed their souls with paint, pottery, jewelry and other media.

“In April we’ll be 48 years old,” Wells said of the business at 228 Fifth Ave., McComb.

“I went to work for Bess (Dawson) in 1984 and she died in 1994, and I was able to buy the gallery from her estate.”

Wells has stayed at it so long because “I have an eye for color and I coordinate the paintings and the pottery to go together, so I enjoy that,” she said.

The gallery isn’t just for high-brow, deep-pocket art collectors.

“There are all price ranges. It starts like $10 and goes up,” Wells said. “There’s a lot of things like $18.50, $25.”

Example: a ceramic angel Christmas ornament from Creekside Pottery of Pricedale for $10.

“Every year Pat Killingsworth makes an angel and it’s dated and signed on the back,” she said.

Creekside has three generations of artists, said Wells, who stocks a number of Creekside creations, including tall deer-imprint mugs for $18 and smaller leaf-design mugs for $16.

“And of course, McCarty (Pottery) is my biggest seller,” Wells said.

The Merigold, Miss., company has been popular with customers for years.

“We are on our third generation,” Wells said. “Grandmother got McCarty Pottery, Mother got McCarty Pottery, and now the brides are getting McCarty Pottery. In 1971 McCarty Pottery was the first show that was at Gulf-South Art Gallery.”

The gallery also features stained glass art by Roger Smith of Monticello and Gary Hymel of Hammond, La.

Moni Angels from Ridgeland produce pottery angels, Santas, birds and trees.

Carolyn Ford is a popular local artist whose works include vivid abstract scenes as well as portraits of eucalyptus and pineapple.

“When I had the show for Carolyn Ford, I sold about 10 paintings,” Wells said of a recent show.

Many other local artists sell their work at the gallery as well.

“There’s any number of people that I handle and have handled over the years — Charles Crossley, Carroll Case, Andrew Bucci, Beverly and Wilfred Dick, Dianne Burris, Southwest Mississippi Art Guild,” Wells said.

Others, alive and dead, include Ava Madison, Gene Easley, Robert Martin, Lori Catt Mitchell, Lori Felix and more.

There’s pottery by Follette, jewelry by Lauren Glenn, angels by Susan Clark — and much, much more.

Gulf-South Gallery is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. For more information call 684-9470.



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