CLOVER -- Dale Barattini, already a household name around Clover, is creating a new name for herself in the business ranks of western York County.
Barattini, the artist behind the town of Clover's annual landscape portrait sold during the town's St. Patrick's Day festival every March, has opened Gallery 108 to help local artists display and sell their work.
"We have the reputation of being a small mill town, but there's just a lot of really wonderfully talented people here," Barattini said. "As an artist, I remember how hard it is to get started. So we're really focusing on local art."
Barattini, 50, describes Gallery 108 as a quaint, upscale art gallery and framing shop, located at 108 W. Kings Mountain St., less than a block from Main Street. She hopes to attract original work from artists, painters, potters and crafts people from across the area. Many of her paintings of downtown Clover and her annual Santa Claus portraits are on display, along with other original work.
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Hickory Grove artist Holly Marchman and Rock Hill photographer Ryan Hawthorne already have displayed some work, Barattini said.
The New Orleans native also provides custom framing at the gallery. Dozens of wood moldings, including one with the state's palmetto tree logo, are available.
"So far, the framing is paying our bills," Barattini said. "It's an upscale environment, but we can beat the big box stores' prices."
After-hours events planned
Because downtown Clover often shrivels after dark, Barattini is hoping to team with downtown restaurants and shops to host regular after-hours events to drive traffic downtown. She plans to have monthly wine and cheese tastings and will host November's business after hours event for the Greater Clover Chamber of Commerce.
"She's a very, very talented lady. The chamber is excited about having her," said Kathy Cantrell, director of the Clover chamber. "It brings an artistic and creative element downtown we haven't always had."
Cantrell said Gallery 108 is in a good location to help stir traffic in downtown Clover.
Barattini, who also works for several designers painting murals, has another unique claim to fame. When Rick Ford, a landmark downtown car dealership, burned last winter, Barattini had just finished her 2007 downtown Clover portrait. The painting focused on Kings Mountain Street and on the right side of the landscape was the Rick Ford building.
"It's probably the last picture of Rick Ford," Barattini said. "I finished the painting that night, and it burned down the next morning."
The painting is on display at her gallery.