VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher, center, presents a ceremonial check to Lost Pearl Gallery owners representing the seed capital matching grant funding the gallery received. From left are Maggie Asbury, Tazewell County Board of Supervisors and VCEDA board member; Betty Armentrout, Nancy Brooks, Pawnee Jewell, Lost Pearl Gallery; Pam Warden, Tazewell County Economic Development manager; and Sarah Lowe, Lost Pearl Gallery.

TAZEWELL, VA – JUNE 10, 2019 – From paintings to hand-crafted jewelry and glass work to basket weaving and more, the Lost Pearl Gallery in North Tazewell has a little something for everyone.

The gallery, a for-profit limited liability company formed in Virginia in November 2018 and located at 587 Freedom Avenue, officially opened its doors in December 2018 as an artists’ collaborative venture. It moved to its new location earlier this spring, celebrating a grand reopening in April with plans to continue to grow both as a tourist destination, as well as a place local residents visit to see – and to purchase – the variety of items the gallery has on display and offers for sale.

The Lost Pearl Gallery, LLC was recently approved for a $10,000 Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) Seed Capital Matching Grant which its six owner/artists all agreed assisted in getting the new space set up for the gallery, which specializes in providing fine art collectibles and quality handmade products and services related to the arts.

“VCEDA was pleased to approve the seed capital grant funding for the Lost Pearl Gallery,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “The Lost Pearl Gallery provides an opportunity for local residents and tourists alike to grow in their appreciation of the arts and provides employment, not only through the operation and staffing of the gallery, but as a venue for local artists to display and sell their works, thereby providing additional opportunities for them to grow their own art businesses.”

The gallery has five owners, including Shirley “Pawnee” Jewell, Nancy Greever Brooks, Esther “Sarah” Lowe, Betty Armentrout and James D. Hale, all of whom live in Tazewell County and surrounding areas and who represent a variety of artistic disciplines, including painting, glass work, basket weaving, fiber art, songwriting and recording, jewelry making, woodworking and writing (prose and poetry).

“The VCEDA seed capital matching grant helped us tremendously,” Jewell said. “Through it we were able to purchase our moveable walls in the gallery which provide not only a place to display our paintings or other wall art, but which also provide us with storage space.”

The gallery owners worked with Margie Douglass with the Small Business Development Center at Southwest Virginia Community College in developing their business plan and application to VCEDA for the grant funding.

In addition to the items on display during regular business hours, the gallery also hosts periodic shows, like the recently complete Nostalgia Show it hosted Memorial Day Weekend. From time to time, it issues a call to all artists, seeking submissions for new art, which are then juried and if selected, put on display.

“That’s one way we keep things fresh,” Brooks said. “It allows our patrons to see work they might not have seen before. It’s very eclectic.”

The gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. It has a Facebook page and a website is currently under development.

About Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority and Southwest Virginia’s e-Region: The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1988 to enhance and diversify the region’s economy and help create jobs, markets Southwest Virginia’s e-Region and its focus on electronic information technology, energy, education, emerging technologies, and entrepreneurship. VCEDA is a unique economic development organization that manages funds for economic development projects from a percentage of the coal and natural gas severance taxes paid by coal and natural gas companies that operate in the region. Located in southwestern Virginia, the region includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton. www.vaceda.org  or www.e-Region.org.

About the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority Seed Capital Matching Grant Fund: VCEDA region for-profit businesses one year and under with less than 10 full-time employees are eligible to apply for dollar-for-dollar matching grants up to $10,000 from the VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Fund. Applicants work with the Small Business Development Centers at Mountain Empire and Southwest Virginia community colleges to prepare the applications to VCEDA that include detailed business and financial plans. Businesses must be located in or plan to operate in the VCEDA region in southwestern Virginia that includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton.