Full of Art
New gallery shares purpose and passion
ALICIA MERCER’s art is not about her. It is about a purpose greater than herself or her art. That’s why it’s important to Mercer that proceeds from MERCERful Art in the Cargo District go to local nonprofits.
Mercer says the name she chose for her gallery resonated with her faith that God is merciful, so she played with her name to share what she was doing with others.
“I am blessed to be a blessing, and I want to be able to bless someone by giving back,” Mercer says.
The MERCERful Art is open in the Cargo District in what is known as the DesignWorx space, 707 South 16th Street, so it is not among other retail shops, yet. But, Mercer hopes that does not keep customers from visiting and sharing in her mission. Ultimately, the plan is to move among the shops.
She shares the values of the other Cargo District businesses, with similar ideals of sustainability and eco-friendliness and a desire to support local artisans. Mercer takes it a step further with her support of area nonprofits who support those in the community.
“We work with any potential nonprofit but especially those that help the hungry, the homeless, or the addicted,” Mercer explains. “In the past, I’ve done Vigilant Hope; in April it was The Open Gate that helps with domestic violence, and we plan to support organizations like the Carousel Center and NourishNC.”
An occupational therapy assistant for thirty-three years, Mercer always had art modalities around the house but did not decide to make use of them until home during Hurricane Florence.
“We hunkered down in our old house downtown, we lost power and had the generator going, and I needed calm and peace, so I started to pour paint out onto acrylic,” Mercer says. “One day, it just clicked. I didn’t force it; it just came to me.”
Mercer says giving a purpose to her art helps to inspire her creativity and supports her gallery motto of “Purpose meets Passion.”
“The focus wasn’t on me. There was a whisper in my ear that said, ‘It’s not about you.’ There’s a purpose behind this,” Mercer says. “I’m not doing this for a paycheck. We have to pay bills, and the rest is going to others.”
Mercer’s alcohol ink pieces feature “happy, vibrant colors” that echo the spirit of nature she hopes will draw people into her gallery the same way the natural world draws people into it.
Besides Mercer’s pieces, the gallery also features works from a variety of artists.
“For me, growing up, my mother was an artist and nature was always a focus, so that is the essence of the store. The smell of the flowers, the earrings, the upcycled scarves, all represent that essence and I want people to feel that from the moment they walk in,” Mercer says.
To view more of photographer Madeline Gray’s work, go to madelinegrayphoto.com.
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