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The Daily Tar Heel

‘Remixed’ gallery and store sells repurposed items

Jeanmarie Griffin, the owner of A Remix Art Gallery in Carrboro, discusses her love of reuse art and her collaboration with local artists.

When stepping into A Remix Art Gallery in Carrboro, there’s no way to know what to expect.

The inventory shifts as pieces are bought, bartered, consigned or created, and the layout of the store changes monthly.

There are bags sewn from old designer fabric or with straps made from wine corks, earrings designed with feathers and the biggest painting in the room once lay forgotten in storage for 15 years.

Part thrift shop and part art gallery, the store belongs to Jeanmarie Griffin, a lifelong seamstress who has applied an important lesson from her trade to her art and store: a reuse mentality.

“As a seamstress that’s what you do,” she said.

“You take the buttons off of things, you take the zipper out of something, you always redo things.”

Currently filled with the art of 15 artists, along with Griffin’s own creations, the gallery has had the art of 52 people pass through in the less than two years since opening, she said.

Just before opening the store, Griffin was an alterations manager at David’s Bridal until arm and back pain forced her to step down.

When she was young, Griffin said she told herself she would grow up to be an artist.

“And then I just knew at that point, OK I’ve been saying this … I’m going to be that artist now,” she said.

Griffin said she decided on the spot in Carrboro while sitting on the bench at the bus stop.

“I just saw the traffic,” she said.

“I said a little prayer and I said, ‘God, show me something familiar to confirm this for me.’”

And that is when she noticed the address of the bank across the street: 104, denoting her Oct. 4 birthday.

“It couldn’t be any more familiar than that,” she said.

Since then, Griffin said the community has become her own.

“People meet each other in here, and I have regulars,” she said.

Ada Farber, a Carrboro resident, said she comes to the store about once a month.

“It’s a really fun store. You just don’t know what you’re going to find here and it’s always interesting — it’s always different,” she said.

“It’s very Carrboro,” she added.

Griffin has kept the store open through a hodgepodge of funding sources.

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There’s the artists’ quarterly fees, sewing, a GoFundMe page and, most recently, a focus on teaching.

“I really like to tap into peoples’ creativity because a lot of people don’t think they’re creative at all,” she said.

Though Griffin said she focuses more than she would like to on the business side of the shop, she tries to make as much art as she can, whether it’s a sewn piece, a painting, or a new statue-esque creation made from a repurposed angel figurine and blue flash bulbs.

But her own art is not her only passion: She wants to see all her consigning artists find success.

“The main thing is I want people to know that this is an art gallery, and there are a lot of talented artists in here,” she said.

“I could fill this place up with all my own stuff … But I feel like I’ve got to do this for other artists.”
One of those artists, Jackie Reid, met Griffin by wandering into the store one day.

“I worked with several other places and she’s one of my favorites because she’s just very positive,” Reid said.

“One of the things she always says is: the energy you put into it is what you’re going to get out.”
Reid said she agrees with that sentiment and wants more people to know about the store.

“It’s very hard to be unique in Carrboro.”

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