Art by Locals, For Locals: Sybil Godwin Curates the Charlotte Art Scene

Sybil Godwin
Sybil Godwin poses in Shain Gallery.

Sybil Godwin, the newest owner of Shain Gallery in Myers Park, has been working in the art world for over fourteen years, but, really, she’s been living it for her entire life.

Originally from the Charlotte area, and fully embedded in the local art scene, Godwin attended North Carolina State University and moved to Atlanta after her graduation. She returned to Charlotte in 2013 with her husband, Bill, and is the mother of two young girls, a one and three-year-old

Today, Godwin tells us that now she has taken over the reigns, she hopes to continue to run Shain Gallery for years and years. “I want to be in my eighties and still selling art. As the city evolves and grows, we will too. There will be lots of exciting things to come,” Godwin promises.

Shain Gallery
A peek inside Shain Gallery

Tell us more about your work and this gallery. What initiated your passion for art? Did you always know that you wanted to be a curator?
My aunt is an artist, and her colorful paintings filled my house growing up. My mom and dad were also very supportive of my love of art; I can’t remember there being a time where there wasn’t a white coloring pad and crayons nearby.

Describe the art community in Charlotte. How is the art scene in this area unique, and what has it been like working with local artists?
The art scene here in Charlotte is growing just as quickly as the city itself is. I think that as time goes on, we’ll start to see more and more galleries popping up. We love the local artists we represent, including people like Andy Braitman, Curt Butler, and Laura and Trip Park.

You’re a mom of two young children; how do you balance being both a mom and the gallery owner?
I always tell people that I work hard at the gallery, but then I go home and work even harder. Being a mom is the hardest but most rewarding job.

Shain Gallery
On display in Shain Gallery

“I always tell people that I work hard at the gallery, but then I go home and work even harder. Being a mom is the hardest but most rewarding job.”

You say some of your goals as gallery owner are to collect pieces from up-and-coming artists and to encourage younger collectors to purchase art. What importance does art play in people’s homes?
I get so tickled when young collectors come in the gallery, because I know what’s about to happen; they’re going to buy their first piece and get hooked just like I did when I was twenty-two and fresh out of college.

Once they get that first piece in their homes, they begin to realize how original art makes such a difference. One of my old bosses in Atlanta used to always say that ‘art is a mood changer’: It can completely uplift you, the same way a favorite song can.

Natalie Godwin
Sybil Godwin of Shain Gallery

“Art is a mood changer. It can completely uplift you, the same way a favorite song can.”

What advice would you give to people who want to introduce more art into their homes but don’t know where to start?
Start visiting galleries and discover what you like; you don’t have to know anything about art to love it. And then, if you find something, take it home on approval. Our policy is to let all of our clients try the paintings before they buy them, so they can really see how it looks and feels in their home.

Shain Gallery
Shain Gallery’s sunlit foyer

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