Reduce, reuse, recycle and repurpose at Seagreen Gallery
Published 9:58 am Saturday, October 5, 2019
You may have driven down the Beach Road in Nags Head and noticed a green building with a huge wave mural and a sign out front asking for used wine bottles. Here lies Seagreen Gallery, owned by Susan Evans, Phil Morgan and two of their three sons, Will and Michael Morgan.
Upon walking into Seagreen Gallery, you will notice art of all kinds. Paintings, mirrors, windchimes and glass sculptures adorn the walls. Stones of every color, fresh-smelling candles and jewelry are sprinkled throughout the store. Out back, there is a garden with herbs as well as a water feature, driftwood and all kinds of animals.
Once you take a closer look, you will realize all of these sculptures, birdhouses and garden decorations are made of repurposed tools, shells from the ocean and sea glass in every color. Then you realize the mastery behind the family of artists and craftsmen that run Seagreen Gallery.
The building was originally owned by the Gray family that operated Gray’s Department Store. According to Evans, the store was the “original Wings of the Outer Banks.” It drew in a lot of traffic during the summer from tourists and had many returning locals. In 2011, after the building had been abandoned for ten years, Evans and her husband purchased the property and started making their dreams a reality.
Evans grew up in a family of artists. “My dad was a wedding photographer and my mother was a commercial artist who drew for newspapers,” she said. “We didn’t do sports; it was all about art.”
Will, Michael and Sam grew up surrounded by art and culture. Morgan was a professor in sociology with a focus in demographics and Evans would travel for shows with her unique pieces of artwork. Will went to school for marketing, which led to his expertise in detail and merchandising. Michael got into the family business later on, but now makes his own artwork sold in the gallery. Sam runs his own business in Raleigh.
Bringing the huge pieces of artwork such as mirrors and birdhouses that Evans had handmade to shows became more of a hassle than a profit. “Phil would have to haul doors and mirrors to the shows, which was difficult and time-consuming,” she said. After a while, Morgan suggested the concept for a store to sell the items instead. “His ability to say that he believed we could do it made this all possible.”
The gallery emanates repurposing and recycling. Evans loved antiques and collecting art from around the world. Along with Will’s “free-thinking mind” and drive to create something out of nothing, the family wanted to collaborate their thoughts and ideas. Will said, “I didn’t even know how many inches were in a foot when I first started.”
One of the signature features of the gallery is the large wave mural that covers one side of the building. Will had trashcans full of license plates and within a couple days, he put together a mural that made the front page of AAA’s Travel Guide. Now there are people from around the world that come and take pictures in front of the wave all the time.
The garden was also Will’s design. “There was a giant empty yard and I wanted to do something with it,” he said. Every year Will adds a new feature to the garden. As of now, it holds rabbits, turtles, chickens, vegetables, flowers, waterfalls and, of course, a ton of artwork.
Michael makes candles and clocks from repurposed wine bottles, old hub caps and antique record albums. “We ask for wine bottles from the community,” he said. Michael works with his dad to cut the bottles, shape them and string them together with LED lights to create a swag.
“One thing that makes us unique is that everything is so unique,” Evans said. She buys a lot of her pieces through online sites such as Etsy and local artists. There are many people that come into the gallery and offer things they had found from walking on the beach or old tools that are of no use to them anymore. About 40% of the store is made from these rare and simple objects.
Evans and her family recently opened a shop in Duck to sell even more of their handcrafted artwork. There are no pets or garden there currently, but it does sit right on the water. Both galleries are open daily. Evans, Morgan, Will and Michael work full-time and welcome anyone in town to stop by.
For more information, visit their website at www.seagreengallery.com.
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