After 16 years, Dick and Dixie Ferrer are closing the doors to their gallery to focus on family, each other and the quiet of their home studio.
The couple have six children, 13 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
“We haven’t ever been able to spend much time with them because we were at the gallery administrating and working, especially on the weekends,” Dixie said. “Then, all of a sudden, we just kind of got our priorities going in a little different direction.”
The couple decided to close Ferrer Gallery on the second floor of the historic Village Green building about three months ago. The last day will be Dec. 13.
About two years ago, the Ferrers had a studio built at their home, and that helped prompt the decision to close.
“It’s in the woods and it’s really enchanting. We realized the quality of our work was improving because of the quietness of the home studio. You weren’t interrupted with all that goes on with administrating a gallery,” Dixie said.
They wanted to stay open through the fall to see loyal customers and to host one final opening with Barb Brooke Davis.
Davis has leased her Village Green studio from the couple for all 16 years. She plans to move her studio to her home to spend more time with her husband and family.
“We wanted to finish out the year. We have a lot of repeat customers in the fall, and we didn’t want to miss that; and we wanted to have an opening with the three of us. … We thought about calling it the ‘Three Amigos,’” Dixie said.
“New Directions,” an autumn exhibit, will be displayed from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9, and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10.
Dixie works with mixed media and paints with oil; Dick is an acrylic painter; and Barb works with wool fiber.
Along with their works, the gallery also exhibits the works of 25 other local artists, from wood to pottery to soap. The pieces are on consignment from the artists, and most will be available at other locations in town after the gallery closes, Dixie said.
Also, the Village Green Building may see a new artist business in the current gallery location, Dixie said.
She first had a private studio on the third floor and a smaller gallery on the second floor of the building. Then, a larger retail space became available on the second floor, and the Ferrer Gallery expanded. At one point, the gallery represented about 45 artists, Dixie said.
“It was a really hoppin’ place and still is,” she said.
The Ferrers also teach classes at their studio.
“Both of us are really, really focused on teaching and sharing what we’ve learned,” Dixie said. “We’re going to still do it.”
The couple plan to remain involved in the local art community. Dixie will be a visiting artist at the Brown County Art Gallery for at least one year, and her works are sold at New Leaf in Nashville.
Dick’s work is represented at the Brown County Art Gallery, and Davis’ work is at the Brown County Craft Gallery.
“The gallery is closing in the Village Green building, but we are not slinking away,” Dixie said.
Dixie said the gallery has always been open Christmas Eve for last-minute shoppers, which made it difficult to celebrate with family who live all across the country.
“Our focus was always on the customer and being available for them. Now, it’s just kind of being available for ourselves,” Dixie said.
Other plans are not concrete yet.
“I would be foolish to say exactly what I’m going to be doing, because I haven’t had enough self-quiet time to really know what I want to do,” Dixie said.
“It’s kind of like turning a corner. I know I still want to do art, but I don’t know what that is going to entail. I want to be open to all things that come my way.”
The Ferrers will be available at their home by appointment or for special events.
The artists and client relationships that they’ve developed throughout the years will be what they’ll miss the most, Dixie said.
“The thing that is most important — and kind of our intent with the gallery — has always been service and creating relationships with our visitors, because that’s what Brown County is all about: it’s connecting and making them feel at home and part of the family.
“I will miss that, but I’m hoping that we will be able to connect in some other way.”