Meridian Star

Local News

August 10, 2013

A haven for artists

MERIDIAN —     At the turn of the 20th Century, the Amour Creamery located on Fifth Street in Meridian was a hub of activity as workers produced and shipped tons of cheese.

    A hundred years since the heyday of the business, two men hope the historical building will be the epicenter of another type of bustling activity — art.

    This fall, Gil Carmichael, of Missouth Properties, L.P., and Joey Horne, a renowned painter in abstract art who was born and raised in Meridian, hope the old creamery will make the transition into a first class art gallery that will also be the home to artists of all types. It is a dream both men are committed to making come true.

    "Joey is extremely talented and he will use this as his base, his gallery and studio, in order to create his beautiful works," Carmichael said. "I've known Joey a long time and this building really fits into the idea of becoming a gallery and studio. It is well suited for that role and we are excited about this project."

    Horne hopes that by the time the middle of October rolls around the building will be completely finished, ready to welcome art lovers from the surrounding area. He will hold a showcase of his work, much of which is so new no one has gazed at the canvases before.

    "In many respects the art show will be a chance for the people of Meridian to be the first people to see my new work," Horne said. "I'm excited about it and I hope they will be as well."

    The classic building was the home of the cheese factory up until the 1950s. The Soule' family bought the building soon afterward and used it as storage. Carmichael, seeing a vision of developing art in Meridian, bought it from the Soule' family 10 years ago with the intent of turning the building into a fully functioning art gallery and studio.

    "I hope we will be signaling the birth of a new art movement in Meridian and East Mississippi," Carmichael said. "I'm trying to keep as much of the original flavor of the building while at the same time turning it into a good location for artists to come and create their work."

    Carmichael and Horne have visions of sculptors, photographers, different styles of painting and many other kinds of artists using the building. Already there has been much renovation work done with more yet to be completed. The building has ample room for so much imagination and variety.

    "We have been working on this for the past two years," Carmichael said. "It is hard to believe we are so close to its completion."

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