Meet Shannon Harris of
The Grace Gallery
The week before mother's day in 2011, I opened my dream store on a wing and a prayer 6 months beforehand. At the time our own home was in foreclosure, my marriage was falling apart and I was a new single mom to my toddler son and teenage daughter. This store not only housed my dreams and visions it was now my source of income to provide for my kids, and it was a place I could bring my Cooper to work because I could not afford a sitter or daycare.
I was sleep deprived and working 18 hour days to provide for my children along with giving myself a purpose in those very dark days. Many nights I stayed late, in the back room painting for my own therapy, turning on praise music and getting on my knees in prayer that we would survive. It was there on that floor that the Lord showed me my spiritual gift and the confidence I would later need to become a full time artist. It was not through me, but through His design of me that I possessed the ability to paint. It was on that floor covered in paint that the vision of the "grace gallery" came to me. A place where artists could donate a portion of their sales to whatever cause or ministry the Lord laid on their heart to support. If you build it they will come....
The Lord was good, the business was instantly successful. The glitzy story was printed in the Over the Mountain Journal as a feature, in Birmingham Magazine and word of mouth was incredible. I soon I found I was booked solid with parties and orders for the weekend of May 1.
It was the early morning of April 27th and one of the biggest trials I have ever faced. My store and our livelihood was destroyed in an instant, my little store was pulled apart by the same tornado outbreak that would later ravage Tuscaloosa.
I was devastated, all the work I done, in the midst of my own tragic life, juggling being a mom I found myself wondering how we were going to survive. I felt forsaken, and for a while something in me simply died. I had always had my creativity as my constant companion and it just became dull and lifeless.
A year later a sweet angel (now a great friend) gave me the confidence I needed to become a full time artist. Her shop in Watercolor, Florida one of the best art galleries on 30A and her spirit shines just as bright. She didn't know me, she was completely full, not taking any new artists, she said followed a by.... "well on second thought just leave me that sample piece and Ill think about it".The next day she called to tell me it sold and ask if I would bring more. It was that day my creative companion came back to me my Faith restored.
A short time later, I found myself across the street from my first store in Cahaba Heights where a "For Lease" sign stood. Little did I know His perfect tapestry was weaving together something beautiful, something now known as The Grace Gallery. Welcome! The symbol of the acorn signifies the regrowth of the community and the new emerging artists that I am now helping grow.