At Museum Center

Dale Armstrong turning gift shop into gift gallery

By KAITLIN GEBBY
Posted 8/11/19

The Museum Center at 5ive Points will debut its new gift gallery as well as Gift Gallery Manager Dale Armstrong this month. Janice Neyman, executive director at 5ive Points, said the changes at …

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At Museum Center

Dale Armstrong turning gift shop into gift gallery

Posted

The Museum Center at 5ive Points will debut its new gift gallery as well as Gift Gallery Manager Dale Armstrong this month. 

Janice Neyman, executive director at 5ive Points, said the changes at the gift shop are “long overdue” and will provide a stronger platform for local artists. 

She said Armstrong is the first “professional artist” to take over the gift shop and has played a major role in the changes at the museum store.

With new lighting, a fresh coat of paint and updated displays, Armstrong and Neyman agreed  the newly renovated shop will be a point of contact for local artists’ work as the new Gift Gallery at 5ive Points. 

Neyman attributed the professional changes at the museum gift gallery to Armstrong’s extensive background in the artistic world. 

Armstrong, who grew up in New Hampshire,  said she  recalled her first encounter with art at 9 years old. 

“It started with charcoal, and that gave way to pastels, which led me to acrylics, then oils, until eventually I found 3D art,” she said. “That’s when I found my niche.” 

She enjoys working with her hands, manipulating the material to the shape she sees in her mind’s eye.

During her early 20s, she started studying under a world-renowned enamelist. She also studied at the University of South Florida, majoring in fine arts and geology. After meeting her husband, a boilermaker, they spent the next few years on the road, homeschooling their daughter and living as “cultural tourists.” 

She said they would visit historic sites as they traveled the country, and admission to a museum was her daughter’s school for the day. Through this method of teaching, Armstrong said her daughter would gain a “very strong understanding of artists like Picasso and their intentions behind their art.” 

A self-described rockhound, Armstrong and her family collected “buckets” of rocks that they’d store in a storage unit near Jonesborough. When she would eventually settle down in Cleveland around 20 years ago, she used the collection for lapidary work and to make the wire jewelry she is known for today. She has taught, written, created and shown wire jewelry in the name of the art medium she loves. 

When she discovered wire jewelry, she said she felt like she had “done this in a past life.” She mentioned museums with rooms dedicated to fine or ancient jewelry displays where she would find work eerily similar to her own. 

“This was back in the days before the Internet,” she said. “I walked up to this ancient piece of jewelry on a display at a museum in Ukraine. It was dug up out of a burial mound and was dated back to 200 A.D. Looking at this piece was like looking at my own work  I had just made a few days ago. It was so similar.” 

Today, she is using her skills and experience with various art mediums to promote other artists. She explained  a change of color or switching a bulb from white to yellow can “completely alter” the way a piece of art is viewed. 

Neyman said the changes to the gift shop, now gift gallery, will “elevate” the work currently on display and future work as well. 

With her new position at the gallery, Armstrong said she hopes to strengthen the relationship between artists at the museum and the community.

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