By Johnny Jackson
The bright canvas appears to pop out of the plum-colored paneled wall, complementing the look of Pizaz, Etc., a ladies' boutique, located in the heart of Historic Downtown McDonough.
A dozen paintings embellish what is being called "the art room" at Pizaz, Etc., located at 31 Griffin St.
The pieces of art are the creation of McDonough resident, Wesley Morgan, the boutique's featured local artist for the month of July.
"I think it's great that they do that," Morgan said. "I think it's about time someone recognized the artists around Henry County."
The 67-year-old artist said he began painting as a child. "It relaxes me," he said. "I can paint for hours."
In his adulthood, Morgan has managed to incorporate the passion for art into his trade as a framer. He is part-owner of Scandinavian Custom Framing, also located in downtown McDonough. He said the idea to feature artwork in the retail space has afforded local artists and businesses, like his, opportunities to appeal to more potential customers and clients.
"I think it's important because it draws a lot of attention to businesses," Morgan said. "And there are so many artists who create beautiful art that needs to be seen."
Morgan said he sells his paintings at venues which allow him to showcase his artwork. He occasionally displays work at Season's Bistro, a fine-dining restaurant nearby.
"It's great having art in the boutique," said Mitzi Carr, part-owner of Pizaz Etc. "I have no art talent, but I love art, and I think it's very important that we support our local artists."
Carr, who is a member of the McDonough Arts Council, said she believes the marriage of the arts with fashion, provides a deeper ambiance for the boutique.
"We do this to build up McDonough for all businesses, whether its an artist or a boutique," interjected Lisa Jones, also part-owner of the ladies boutique. "This is a way for us to help one another, because we're all local."
Jones said the two-year-old boutique started featuring a different artist each month, following its April 17 grand reopening.
McDonough painter, Jeff Hunter, was the boutique's featured artist in June.
"I think it's great [they] support local artists in our community," said Hunter. "It gives the artists another outlet for showing their work. It would be nice if more people could do that, and I would like to see more community involvement."
Hunter, a 45-year-old office manager at ABC Compounding in Morrow, said his appreciation of the painting craft grew from his grandmother's regard for art.
"My grandmother used to encourage me to draw when I was a kid," he said. "I think that's probably where it all started. I started painting [seriously] about a year and a half ago, and I just became passionate about it. I paint because I enjoy it, but it's more for personal growth."
Hunter, a member of the McDonough Arts Council Board of Directors, said he has grown as an artist by taking art classes from Nan McGarity, who teaches at the Windsor Gallery, just off the McDonough Square. And he said he continues to be encouraged by his grandmother, who remains his "biggest fan."