Art Notes

Winterville Cultural Center Gallery: Grand Opening Debuts New Art Space in Historic Building

Winterville Cultural Center Gallery

The Winterville Cultural Center, previously occupied by Winterville High School until 1956, has served as a community hub through art classes, exhibitions and events since opening its doors in 2016. After extensive renovations to its second floor, the center will debut a new art gallery this weekend. 

The Winterville Cultural Center Gallery has been a years-long dream for Winterville Mayor Dodd Ferrelle and his wife, Cameron Bliss Ferrelle, who as a musician and painter, respectively, have a strong interest in supporting the local arts. 

“It’s really a passion of ours,” says Dodd Ferrelle. “We spent a lot of time and energy and thought on how to make it really special, not only for our current citizens but for many more to come.”

The WCCG consists of three main exhibition areas that retain the charm and identity of the original building. Flooded with natural light streaming in from wall-to-wall windows, the spacious Gallery One and Gallery Two both feature refurbished wooden floors, professional track lighting and versatile picture rail systems. Moveable, freestanding walls and pedestals will be available to create additional wall space or showcase three-dimensional work. 

A long hallway connecting the various gallery rooms is also equipped to display artwork, and will function as a flexible space that can accommodate overflow from larger exhibitions or host its own independent displays. The hallway has a nostalgic warmth with its hand-painted patterned floor by Athens muralist Marisa Mustard, antique tin ceiling tiles pulled from the auditorium and original overhead lights left by the school. 

Jessica Smith

Dodd Ferrell notes that a lot of tender loving care went into planning the upstairs and that the success of its renovations is due to working with a team of “people who had a deep love for the community, deep love for the building and deep love for the arts.” These efforts were recognized with a Preservation Award from Historic Athens last month. 

With plans to open in January 2025, an additional space on the second floor will be designated as the Winterville Museum & Heritage Room. Curated by Jonathan Scott, director of the Carter-Coile Country Doctors Museum, the new space will illustrate the city’s history through a variety of artifacts, photographs and memorabilia, as well as an oral history listening room. This past January, the City of Winterville was awarded the statewide 2024 Patron Award from the Georgia Association of Museums in recognition of its commitment to supporting local cultural heritage initiatives through its two museums. 

After a few more renovations, two smaller rooms on the second floor are set to become artist studios that can be rented out or potentially provide an artist-in-residence program. 

The WCCG will be overseen by Gallery Director Judy Hammond, a retired high school teacher and lifelong artist who has been a Winterville resident for the past six years. Approaching the gallery’s potential with an open mind, Hammond will accept online proposals from artists and guest curators looking to present work, and plans to switch exhibitions out approximately every two months.  

“My goal is to give people the opportunity to see a wide variety of art and reach as far out as I can reach,” says Hammond. 

Barbette Houser and Matt Brewster Dodd Ferrelle in the future WCCG roughly eight years ago, captured by Barbette Houser, alongside a photo by Matt Brewster of the renovated gallery.

In celebration of the WCCG’s grand opening, Gallery One will feature “New Beginnings,” a juried group exhibition with over 60 pieces by over 30 artists thematically exploring fresh starts, new directions and big changes. On view in Gallery Two, a space that will primarily be reserved for invitational exhibitions, “An Intimate Look at Nature” will spotlight Atlanta photographer Mike Ramy, founder of the Wilderness Photography Foundation. Displayed downstairs in the main center’s hallway, “Pen, Pencil, Paper and Ink” is also on view with roughly 50 pieces of art by over 20 artists.

Currently, the gallery is accepting submissions for its first-ever annual juried exhibition through July 12. The juried exhibition will open in September alongside a show highlighting artwork by members of the Wonders of Watercolor artist group. In November, the WCCG will present an exhibition of small-scale works as well as “Of Wood and Water,” an invitational show pairing natural assemblages by Barbara Odil with landscape paintings by Laura Floyd. 

Funding the gallery’s extensive renovations was possible through a combination of Winterville SPLOST funds, donations and grants. In 2023, the Georgia Council for the Arts, a strategic arm of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, awarded the City of Winterville a $75,000 “Cultural Facilities” grant intended to support the restoration or renovation of a building to be used for arts programming. This grant was applied towards installing a two-story elevator and HVAC system on the second floor of the center. 

Jessica Smith

As the gallery aims to become more self-sustaining in the future, it’ll support itself through a combination of proposal and entry submission fees, art sales and gallery memberships. For artworks sold during exhibitions, the gallery will retain a standard 30% of sales, with 70% going to artists. The Friends of the Gallery membership program offers yearlong commitments at various monetary tiers, with perks including recognition in exhibition programs, gift cards for purchasing artwork or taking classes, discounted entry fees and inclusion in an annual members’ show. 

Between the Winterville Cultural Center, new gallery, upcoming heritage museum and neighboring performance venue Marigold Auditorium, this little corner of Winterville has become a true creative campus for both experiencing and developing the arts through classes, exhibitions and performances. The WCCG will be open Tuesdays–Saturdays from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Visit for future announcements and opportunities. 

WHO: Grand Opening
WHEN: Saturday, June 15, 3–7 p.m.
WHERE: Winterville Cultural Center Gallery