by Wyndi Kappes
While her friends partied it up post-grad, 23-year-old Katie Jones was preparing to become the owner of one of the most prestigious art galleries in the Southeast, Buckhead Art & Company. After interning there through college and staying close with thenowner Hutton Snellings, Katie took the plunge and wholeheartedly decided to fill Snellings’ shoes when she passed on the biz. Plenty of late nights, prayers and oops moments later, Katie is proudly blazing a trail featuring local artists and a new event space.
Q: In order to buy the gallery you put in many hours selling your own art, babysitting, and your dad even contributed the money set aside for your future wedding. What sacrifices did you have to make to achieve your dream?
Katie Jones: I can’t tell you how much I look up to my Dad. It means the world that he was willing to contribute in order to keep me from taking out a loan. I am working towards paying the gallery off and I hope to make him and my Mom proud from above! I put every penny I had into the gallery and it can be quite scary to empty out your bank account. I continued to babysit at night in order to get to know Moms in the Buckhead community. Many nights were sacrificed and I had to prioritize the special moments in life to be there for friends. It was a challenge to tell people I love that I can’t be there many days because they all have been so supportive and I am beyond blessed!
Q: What do you wish more people understood about art and art galleries in particular?
KJ: As an artist who’s taken on the business side of a gallery, it’s been very eye-opening. I think it’s important for artists to know that just because we don’t represent your work doesn’t mean we don’t support you. The art world is small and not the easiest. We all have to stick together and support one another. I also think there’s a common misconception about galleries and price points. We have a wide price range from paper pieces to collector’s pieces. Don’t judge the whole gallery from one price tag on the wall.
Q: Where do you find inspiration for your own art? And where do you love to paint?
KJ: I find my inspiration from interior designers. From Melanie Turner to Wolf Design Group and Valerie Garrett Interiors. As far as a favorite place to paint, you can catch me late at night in the gallery or in my kitchen. I grew up always painting on the dining room table.
Q: What advice do you give to clients looking for that perfect art piece for their home?
KJ: Buy art that you love and that’s meaningful to you, not just to fill the walls in your home. Less is more, and a statement piece can change a room.
Q: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned since taking over the gallery?
KJ: I think it’s important to know your community. I can’t tell you how lucky I am to have had such supportive neighbors in the Buckhead Village District.
Q: What is the best piece of advice you ever received, and how have you incorporated it into your journey as a gallery owner and artist?
KJ: My parents always have always encouraged my twin sister and me to do the best we can & take each day one day at a time. I try to remind myself when exhibits don’t go as planned that if I did the best I could then I should take some weight off my shoulders. We are all only human and learning as we go!
Q: What’s been your biggest challenge so far?
KJ: The most challenging part of owning a gallery is that there are a lot of unknowns and not many guarantees. That being said, I make the most of our space by renting the gallery out for events. My favorite part about being an event space is that many guests are surprised to see something they love and then they end up purchasing a piece that becomes part of their home.
Q: So what’s next?
KJ: We’re so excited about presenting our 2021 Holiday Market benefiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta; look out for more details to come.
Katie’s tips for those looking to create art
Network. You never know who may end up purchasing a painting from you one day. It’s all about who you know!
Always keep yourself inspired.
Pay attention to detail.
Art is a process. It’s alright to step away from a painting and come back later with a new perspective.
Don’t be so hard on yourself.