Pam McKay & The Art Cellar Gallery (May 2017)
Banner Elk native Pam McKay started The Art Cellar Gallery & Framemakers to focus on the culture of the Appalachian Mountains.
It has become a fixture of the High Country: Banner Elk’s The Art Cellar Gallery, founded in 1993 by Pam McKay and occupying a 1,200-sq.-ft. literal cellar, subsequently expanding to encompass more than 4,000-sq.-ft. over three levels. Now the gallery is preparing to mark its 25th season with a schedule of exhibitions, artist talks, book signings, and other special events, and to hear McKay tell it, hitting such a milestone is more than just a celebration—it’s confirmation of a legacy.
“I started the art gallery after working in the arts and craft industry in various capacities,” recalls McKay. “My parents were both self-starters and self-employed, so the idea of being in business for myself was a natural progression. I have spent my life in the arts, enjoying the arts, creating art, and loving art. My goal was to share the rich wealth of talent in the region with our market and collectors.” A native of Banner Elk, McKay had attended Appalachian State University in Boone, studying art marketing. Upon graduating in 1988, she relocated first to a Navajo Indian Reservation to learn weaving, then to Raleigh to learn about gallery operations. The tug of the mountains persisted, however, and 1993 saw a move back to the High Country, at which time The Art Cellar Gallery became a reality; Husband Michael, in hotel management at the time, joined Pam in the gallery business the following year.
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