Brundidge art gallery opens

Published 10:50 pm Friday, June 15, 2012

Music drifting through the store front’s open door and the lively chatter from within were indications that something special was going on inside.

And something special it was.

Perhaps, even more special than those who attended open house at Bella Zaire in Brundidge Thursday night realized.

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Bella Zaire is not a store. It’s a fine arts gallery. And it just might be the first of several artistic endeavors to open on Main Street in the town of slightly more than 2,000 people.

Bella Zaire is owned and operated by artists Henry and Pam Jinright and it is his artwork that is the focus of the gallery.

Jinright signs all of his paintings “Bella Zaire,” which is a variation of “Belizaire the Cajun,” which is a 1986 film that chronicles the story of Belizaire Breaux, a village healer in Acadiana in 1859.

“I lived in New Orleans for 17 years and, for 10 years, I painted at the French Market,” Jinright said. “I liked the movie, ‘Belizaire the Cajun,’ and I liked the name Belizaire so I decided to change the spelling a little and use it as my pen name. That’s how the name came about.”

The New Orleans’ influence is visible in many of Jinright’s paintings.

He often uses the fleur-de-lis in his artwork and the colors purple, green and gold, which are representative of New Orleans and Mardi Gras.

Jinright’s paintings are best described as abstract or modern art but each has the Bella Zaire “signature,” which is distinctive.

Mirrors are used repetitively in Jinright’s artwork but he said there is absolutely no symbolism associated with the reflective glass.

The broken shards are embedded in the artwork and often painted over so they become an integral part of the painting when the paint is removed.

In addition to Bella Zaire’s paintings that range from table to full wall sizes, the Jinrights also have small ceramic pieces and fountains for the home and garden.

“Fountains are quite popular and we have a variety of them,” Jinright said. “I do all of the stain work and seal them so that they are not damaged by the heat or cold. They are very durable.”

A large number of people attended the open house at Bella Zaire and were “amazed” to find an “upscale art gallery” in Brundidge.

“Bella Zaire is unique and not just to Brundidge,” said Chuck Caraway, president of the Brundidge Business Association. “It’s good to see people taking an interest in the arts and choosing Brundidge as a place to open shops. We are looking forward to having more art type businesses in Brundidge. They should be able to feed off each other and that will be good for business and good for Brundidge.”

Ann Webb said Bella Zaire is a fresh, new venture in Brundidge.

“This is a beautiful art gallery and it’s an asset to Brundidge. Hopefully, it will generate more interest in the arts locally and bring more people to town.”

Brundidge Mayor Jimmy Ramage said that he is excited about the new direction that new downtown businesses are taking.

“It’s great to see that people are taking a greater interest in the arts,” Ramage said. “The We Piddle Around Theater has gained an excellent reputation in the folk arts. Combine that with the fine arts and the possibilities are exciting”

Ramage said a couple more arts-related ventures are on the front burner.

“Brundidge is moving ahead in a new direction and, as we work together, good things will happen.”