CHERRY’S ART EMPORIUM – PART TWO
artCentral extends our sincere appreciation to Cherry Babcock of Cherry’s Art Emporium and to Koral Martin of KOKA art gallery for their underwriting of this spring’s first exhibition “Art Speaks”, the stunning, not-to-be-missed mixed media collection presented by the Joplin Regional Artists Coalition. Friday, February 2nd, 6:00-8:00 p.m. is the Opening Reception for the exhibit which will be on display until March 18th. Admission is free.
I repeat this statement to Cherry Babcock. She smiles, nods her head and says, “I like hearing this! In fact I’ve heard similar comments at least half a-dozen times.”
Every year, artists and art lovers alike make an annual pilgrimage to experience Cherry’s Plein Air Paint Out, staged on the square during our Maple Leaf Festival. Their most frequently overheard comments mostly tend toward “Wow! These paintings are amazing.”
Cherry doesn’t do what she does for the favorable comments, no matter how sweetly the words resonate. Cherry does what she does, because she can’t help herself. “I’m here because I want to be, have to be. Cherry’s Art Emporium is my prayer, my meditation.”
Now fully engaged as the owner of her art gallery/framing enterprise/restaurant, Cherry lives by her credo: “If you own a business, you have to be here. Customers expect to see and engage with the owner. You don’t just go away and leave all the responsibilities with someone else.”
In spite of her dedication to a hands-on business approach, Cherry’s very aware that rest and relaxation are essential components in enjoying success in business and in relationships. She aspires to live a work-life balance with occasional vacations and those getaway weekends when she and Joe, her husband, drive west to fish and hunt on their small farm outside of Carthage. She affectionately refers to their retreat as their “country home”—a camping trailer big enough to accommodate a queen-sized bed.
I sometimes wonder if Cherry doesn’t also have a bed at her business, too, for her hours spent onsite far exceed a forty-hour week. “No,” she assures me, “I don’t sleep here. I love to be in the sanctuary of my home, and I love returning to work early in the morning when I’m the only one here. Often I take those first quiet morning moments to meditate and to look around and ponder what I’m creating. I feel God really has his hand on me. All I have to do is listen to his guidance and the doors fly open before me. My life just keeps miraculously expanding!”
Before moving to her current location at 311 South Main on the square, Cherry served her customers from her location on Howard Street where in addition to her framing business she continued with her modest art gallery, having only enough space to show a small handful of artists. “In order to grow my business, I knew I had to move to the square,” Cherry says. She did in 2013. Her business has been growing and flourishing ever since.
To her new location, Cherry’s brought with her repeat customers with whom she’s been doing business over the twenty-six years since 1992. Many with Cherry’s guidance have gathered prized art collections in their homes and still return for just one more painting or sculpture they can’t live without. While her emphasis rests in representing local and regional artists, Cherry’s stable of forty-five art-makers includes several exceptionally accomplished and well-known artists from around the country.
Besides serving and engaging with her artists and customers, one aspect of her work that truly inspires Cherry is finding like-minded Carthaginians that share her zeal and vision for setting our town on every map as a go-to destination for art and shopping and a variety of dining opportunities.
Next week I’ll conclude my three-part feature on Cherry Babcock’s hometown enterprises by telling you of her plans and collaborations to continue to grow her own business while helping create a small town that attracts and brings an ever greater variety of businesses to support the economic health our beloved Carthage can enjoy for decades to come.