Jxahk Gallery celebrates 15 years of 'Perseverance' and helping Savannah artists hone their craft

Jxahk Gallery celebrates 15 years of 'Perseverance' and helping Savannah artists hone their craft

Josephine Johnson
For Do Savannah

“I’m here because it’s a space where I’m comfortable exploring mediums, interacting with working artists, collaborating, and really feeling a sense of camaraderie,” explained Jxahk member, Marta McWhorter.

“It’s a close-knit collection of people that makes it like family, in all the best, and sometimes, challenging ways possible!”

This Friday, Jxahk Gallery celebrates 15 years supporting Savannah-based creatives. Jewelers, painters, photographers, fibers artists, up-cyclers, and more present their latest works around “Perseverance,” the title and theme of the special anniversary show.

Jxahk Gallery on Barnard Street. Richard Burkhart/Savannah Morning News

Jxahk Gallery on Barnard Street. Richard Burkhart/Savannah Morning News

Building an arts community in downtown Savannah

Jxahk is one of Savannah’s longest-running gallery cooperatives in which each of its 14 members, in addition to yearly dues and other tasks, is responsible for working at the retail space. And in spite of seemingly endless downtown construction, road closures, multiple Broughton Street makeovers, the co-op has persevered across from Ellis Square since 2007.

Woodworker and lifelong Savannah resident, Dicky Stone, joined Jxahk within a month of its opening and has been member ever since. At age eight, Stone took an interest in design and construction when his grandfather set him to task sanding in the family’s garage shop. These days he works with local and sustainably harvested timber, carving and turning arcs to create complex, intricate bowls from a single piece of wood.

Work by artists Dicky Stone at Jxahk Gallery. Richard Burkhart/Savannah Morning News

Work by artist Dicky Stone at Jxahk Gallery. Richard Burkhart/Savannah Morning News

A steady and constant figure in the gallery’s tenure, Stone jokes about being the old guy of the group. He’s put in his time, ridden economic changes, cultural shifts, and has a good understanding of the kinds of art and artists that excel at Jxahk. When it comes to new members, a range of criteria is considered. Key among them is how well an artist blends with current members.

“Of course, the portfolio of work must come across strong, but in addition to being an artistic fit, the applicant has to be a personality fit, too,” emphasized Stone. “It’s a month or so long process, because after reviewing the work, the membership team interviews each artist before presenting them to everyone. Everyone must approve new members, and this is something that makes the gallery strong. Because in time we all disagree about something, but if in the beginning we have common ground in personality, goals, and focus, we can most likely overcome any conflict that comes up down the line.”