Flagler Artists: Giving back motivates curator of local art gallery

As curator of Palm Coast’s Grand Gallery housed in the Grand Haven Realty offices, Jan Jackson uses her years of art experience – both as an instructor and as a producer – to provide a top notch experience for the artists whose work is on display and for those visiting the shows that feature local artists.
She also gets to do something that is near and dear to her heart: Provide no-cost space for artists to show their work.
“Thanks to the generosity of the owners of Grand Haven Realty, the Grand Gallery is the only place in Palm Coast where artists can display their work for no fee,” Jackson told the Palm Coast Magazine.
That offering – a new charge display – is a huge help in the world of art where most galleries charge for the space as well as a fee on any sales.
And of course, it doesn’t hurt that as curator, Jackson gets to use one of the walls in the gallery to show off her own latest creations.
Through January 9, the “Best of the Best” show sponsored by the Gargiulo Art Foundation is on display.
It features three artists selected by Tom Gargiulo and Arlene Volpe, creators of the foundation, as nominees for the coveted “Artist of the Year” award.
Works from Paul Beaulieu, Andy Sovia and Dex Westphal, the winner for 2021, are included in the show.
Jackson raved about the work of each artist which vary from Beaulieu’s paintings which Jackson described as similar to the Dutch masters with beautiful, darker colors to the surrealism in the work of Sovia to the abstract themes of Westphal’s creations.
“Each of these artists is excellent in their own,” Jackson said.
That is a serious compliment considering it comes from an artist whose career has garnered more than 60 awards that written in Calibri 11 point font – one the smallest yet still legible options – take up at least a full page on her resume.
Jackson’s contribution to the Best of the Best show is a series of the bird houses siting on shelves that will come down when the current show ends mid-month. A couple years ago, Jackson was inspired to re-purpose bird houses using paints and other mixed medium to create unique themes for each one.
“It was something I started during the pandemic,” Jackson said.
Since then, she’s returned to her first love: pastels.
Her new series titled, “Oneness,” is based on a previous showing of smaller paintings featuring different animals and plants – especially palm trees – that are connected by thin lines throughout the paintings.
“I think they were under-appreciated in the smaller format, so I am painting them again except in a larger format,” Jackson explained. “The premise behind these paintings is that they (the subjects of the paintings) are all one.”
The next show Jackson curators opens Jan. 23 and runs for six weeks.
It is a departure from painting with an introduction of quilt art. The artist is Emma Fleischer of Palm Coast.
“I would most certainly call Emma’s work ‘art quilts,’” Jackson said. “These are not traditional quilts in the sense of rectangles such as the old-fashioned quilts are. Hers are embellished with whatever fits the theme of the quilt. For instance, Emma uses fish themes and on a quilt with that theme she has these little fish that are stuffed. They are just so wonderful.”
Jackson’s willingness to praise the work of others and encourage them to continue creating is perhaps part of what makes her the perfect person to organize the local shows at the Grand Haven Gallery.
“I have Lindsay Dolomore to thank for providing this space and a wonderful receptionist at Grand Haven whom warmly greets every visitor to the gallery,” Jackson said. “It’s my opportunity to give back what I know as a service to the art community.”