Brookhaven to welcome new Art Café – Daily Leader

A new art café is coming to Brookhaven.

In a unanimous vote on Tuesday evening, the city council approved the sale of the property at 117 North Railroad Ave – the former Whistlestop Motorcycle Parts & Accessories – to Ethridge Investments LLC.

The company plans to repair and remodel the existing building and open the Whistle Stop Art Café.

The locally owned company will be founded on Christian principles according to the documents submitted to the city. The café aims to create jobs for the local art and provide a creative and affordable outlet for the community. Owners Rickey and Cecily LaRue Ethridge will work with local government departments to host faith-based events, as well as exhibitions and galleries of local art.

According to Cecily Ethridge, the cafe’s main source of income will be from hosting art parties and events such as children’s birthday parties, adult wine and painting parties, and pottery and sculpture classes.

“Children’s parties will feature pottery painting and cupcake decorations, while adult events will feature canvas prints and wine – cupcakes optional,” said Ethridge.

Classes include pottery, quilting, embroidery, watercolor painting, charcoal and coffee drawing, sewing, crochet / knitting, and flower arrangements.

Events hosted include birthday and Christmas parties, swallow-and-paint parties, door hanger parties, and local artist galleries.

“Adults are encouraged to bring their own drinks, while glasses, bottle openers and all essential party supplies are provided by the Art Café,” said Ethridge. “We will have a refrigerated section with your favorite meat, cheese and fresh fruit – as well as the delicious cheesecakes from our local Cheesecake Master. These stylish charcuterie boards and beautiful cheesecakes can be bought at parties or as a take away option. “

The store will also include “AV Ethridge”, a versatile department store that will sell “only the most unique, beautiful, handcrafted items in town”. These are items that you can’t buy from Amazon and that are made right here in America – some right here in Brookhaven. “

Ethridge said she hopes creating a new space for art will add cultural and entertainment value to the city, and that an adjacent art park will also give a boost.

The art park will be an outdoor area that will be available to the community free of charge. The space will display locally created works of art such as ceramics and handcrafted wind chimes, butterfly gardens and water fountains. Local health and mental health trainers are encouraged to use the space.

The park is 0.4 miles from the Mississippi School of the Arts – approximately an 8-minute walk or 3-minute bike ride. It will be 0.2 miles from the Amtrak train station / Godbold Transportation Center – approximately a 4-minute walk or 1 minute by bike.

“Art is a huge subject with its own language, history, and authority, and it could feel overwhelming,” said Ethridge. “But even without this knowledge, our connection to a work of art can have something profound. When you look at a painting you may or may not feel a connection. You might be inspired or bored, cherished or despised. For this reason The Art Café is inclusive – everyone with or without an art background is welcome. “

The ten-year plan for the building provides for loft apartments to be built on the second and third floors above the café.

The Brookhaven community is comprised of many artists, and many of them have full-time jobs outside of the arts. They need an outlet for their creativity, and Ethridge said she wanted to give them one.

Ethridge, a lawyer, said while she wasn’t very artistic, her two sisters, as well as her mother Amy, were Brister LaRue. LaRue was a teacher at the Enterprise Attendance Center for more than four decades, and died the day after he retired in 2021.

“You always think you had time to learn of her skills, but then she passed away unexpectedly so we couldn’t do that,” said Ethridge. “I wanted her to teach me to embroider and so on. I do not know how to do it. You know, a lot of southern women love a good monogram or applique. ‘ So we wanted to offer a place for courses on this. We need this in Brookhaven. Brookhaven is a great location for something like that. “

The Ethridges hope to be able to open the café as a vacation spot by early 2023.

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