After wrapping up a career in real estate, Michelle Reinhold Conely turned to her hobby – making jewelry – as a way to provide for her family.
Last year, Conely opened Going Local NC, an art gallery in North Raleigh where local artists sell their work.
Conely, 44, said it’s important for artists like her to have a place to showcase their talent and make money.
Seventy-five artists sell their work at Going Local NC, a 2,100-square-foot space in the Falls River Town Center.
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“I wanted the artists to stand alone and be appreciated for their artwork,” Conely said.
Many art galleries are clustered in downtown Raleigh, where First Friday features a monthly gallery walk. But Conely said she looked to North Raleigh because it doesn’t have nearly as many options for customers to shop or for artists to show their work.
Running a business is a second career for Conely. After graduating from UNC-Wilmington with a degree in communications, she spent 16 years selling real estate in Raleigh.
In 2011, she returned to Wilmington with her daughter, Addison, to care for her father, who had dementia.
Before he died in December, Conely’s father, who worked for IBM, instilled in his daughter some wisdom about the business world. He told her that she “had to be hands on with something in order to understand it.”
Conely kept that advice in mind as she rented a vendor space in Wilmington to sell her jewelry, mostly unique vintage pieces.
She also took part in art shows in Wilmington. She said her jewelry was featured in a film and was worn by models in local magazines.
When Conely decided to open a store, she looked to Raleigh, where she grew up. She said she appreciates the industrial feel of the space.
Now, Going Local NC is filled with paintings, pottery, woodcrafts, scented candles, home decor items, essential oils, jewelry, crocheted scarfs and more.
Artist Whitney Novitsky has been selling her wooden crafts at the gallery for four months. She said she sells most of her items online to people across the country, but she wanted to also reach local customers.
“It’s been a good opportunity,” Novitsky said of her time at Going Local NC. “I enjoy being part of something that everyone enjoys doing. Everyone here is passionate.”
This month, the gallery is featuring a juried show, “Four Sides of Eight.” Paintings that are 8 inches by 8 inches are on display and for sale.
A reception is planned for 6 p.m. Friday, June 12. There will be awards for first and second place and a People’s Choice award.
Hendricks: 919-836-5775; Twitter: ashleytalks_
If you go
Going Local NC is hosting “Four Sides of Eight” through June. The gallery is located at 10940-116 Raven Ridge Road, Raleigh. Hours are10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.