Jeannine Blankinship, a member of the Monett High School Class of 2003 and a subsequent graduate of Pepperdine University, will be opening the gallery where her father, Jerry Blankinship, had his accounting firm located at 207 Third St., a block north of Broadway. Jeannine Blankinship is presently working on a masters degree in arts and teaching at Missouri State University.
This will be Blankinship's first effort as a curator. She currently works as a psychology technician for Turnaround Ranch, which focuses on children with behavioral problems, and for Arc of the Ozarks.
"There are no real answers in psychology," Blankinship said. "Art is more fun. I'd rather have charcoal on my face than be sitting in an office or a classroom."
Blankinship started painting when she was in junior college. While at Pepperdine she studied art in Argentina. She took five weeks off from her job with Arc of the Ozarks to study in Costa Rica, where she got a crash course in Spanish, conversing with taxi drivers on an hour-long ride home from work.
"I like to think I'm a mix of cultures, picking up things along the way," she said.
Presently she is working on cleaning up her parents' building and hanging work for her initial show, which will feature work by two of her former teachers: Dr. Bob Logan and John Bremer. Logan was Blankinship's eighth grade art teacher and now provides instruction at Crowder College. Bremer retired last year from Monett High School after 40 years of teaching. Both paint in abstract forms, using geometric shapes and lines with bright colors.
The gallery will have room for around 50 pieces of art to be exhibited. Blankinship plans to hang additional photographs in the hallway.
"I want this to be an interactive studio," Blankinship said. "People don't have to come, look and leave. They can stay a while."
She has a photographic studio set up in one room to take portraits and plans to work with clients in editing the final product. While people wait for their pictures, she plans to have another room set up with several canvasses to be used as a hands-on painting exercise. Spray paint cans will be available for new layers to be added onto a painting that will essentially never be finished.
Broadening the base of the gallery to draw in artwork by young people is one of Blankinship's long-range goals. She recalls how Jack Frost used to place art by high school students in the window of his printing store. She plans to talk to art teachers from the Monett, Pierce City and Purdy high schools about showing student art in her gallery. She would like to have a high school week in September, as well as offer painting classes for youth and adults.
For now work will hang in the gallery for sale without commission. In time Blankinship would like to add sculpture and drawings to the exhibit. She plans to have specific works up for about six weeks, so the gallery contents will be constantly changing.
The gallery will be open on weekends, evenings and by appointment. An opening is planned for May 1. She has about three weeks of experimenting with hanging art to do in the meantime. Her own paintings, mostly abstract works using bold colors and circles, have settled for now in a rear room.
Blankinship is moving back to Monett from Carthage and plans to be in and out of the gallery a good deal.
"This is just another adventure for me. I hope this works out," Blankinship said. "They say you should do what you like to do. I hope I'm good at it."