Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Artistic Touch New Five Points Store Tailored to Professionals

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Artistic Touch New Five Points Store Tailored to Professionals

Article excerpt

Jim Draper jokes that he has been an artist since he was tot and what started out as a childhood hobby is now his life's work.

Now, the 45-year-old Mississippi native and fellow artist and business partner Steve Williams -- who together turned Five Points into a painter's paradise with the opening of their Pedestrian art gallery in 1997 -- are poised to do so again.

Only this time, instead of selling the finished works seen hanging on their gallery's walls, they're hawking the raw materials -- acrylics, oils, brushes and canvas among other items -- used to make those works of art.

Enter Raw Materials, their arts supply store for professional artists. It is located on Park Street, just down the street from the Pedestrian gallery.

Jacksonville already has an art-supply store, 40-year-old Reddi-Arts on Hendricks Avenue near Prudential Drive, but Williams said their store offers something a little different.

Raw Materials started out of what they saw as a need for an outlet that catered specifically to the professional artist, Williams said. For example, it will sell different brands of paints and offer workshops on different mediums and techniques.

"This store is geared toward professional artists," Williams, 31, said this week as he and Draper prepped the retail boutique for its official grand opening today and tomorrow.

Bruce Meiselman, the owner of Reddi-Arts, says his store has served the needs of all artists -- from students to professionals -- for decades.

Williams said Raw Materials is not meant to compete with Reddi-Arts head-to-head, even though the two stores offer some similar products. Both sell an array of brushes and paints and both do custom framing.

But Raw Materials will offer classes and workshops, while Reddi-Arts does not. Reddi-Arts has a visual presentation department that includes computer graphics and design, something that Raw Materials doesn't have. …

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