In December of 2019, like so many of their friends and neighbors, Dave and Jane Wickham were looking forward to a new year full of promise. They recently had completed renovating an old church in Lewisburg and were planning the opening of their new business venture — Joy & Whimsy Depot — and were putting the finishing touches on their plan for a one-week arts festival to be held in February.
“We had the festival in February and had planned to open the Joy & Whimsy officially in April of 2020,” Dave said. “Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and everything changed.”
In keeping with their desire to spread joy and positivity throughout Lewisburg and beyond, the Wickhams decided they would just wait out the unprecedented time, hunker down and stay home, planning to delay opening for a few months.
“We thought we’d wait until June,” Dave said. “Then it became September and then we started looking at spring of 2021 after the vaccines were released.”
The Joy & Whimsy Depot was finally able to open on June 5. The longtime dream the couple had “to create a place that would display positive, creative and colorful works of art by local and regional artists,” was finally becoming reality.
Throughout the pandemic shutdown and the stay-at-home orders, Jane maintained contact with the local artists who had been scheduled to be part of the original grand opening. She also posted regularly on their social media pages to keep people informed of their progress.
“During the February show in 2020 we had a lot of artists from Front Street Galleries in Dayton,” Dave said. “We have a few of these that have also committed to do our next show.”
During that February show, there were various types of classes, including painting, storytelling, video production and film. There were 25 total artists involved.
“The primary purpose of that first show was to introduce ourselves to the community so people would know who we were and our purpose,” Jane said. “It was kind of like an open house.”
That purpose — to offer an experience of Joy and Whimsy by displaying positive, creative and colorful works of art by local and regional artists, with a goal of eliciting smiles, laughter, joy and relaxation — hasn’t changed and the couple said it is vital now more than ever, especially after the past two years.
“I think we shifted a little bit over the pandemic,” Dave said. “We are now trying to focus more on kindness, which is of course related to joy and whimsy. We want people to come in and enjoy the art, but also treat them kindly and send them back into the world to spread that kindness to others.”
On June 5, about 125 people visited the Joy & Whimsy Depot on West Dayton Street in Lewisburg. Visitors were invited to an official ribbon-cutting ceremony and a peak at the galleries.
“We had an outdoor picnic with food and snacks,” Jane said. “It was a beautiful day.”
The reviews were positive and now that Dave, who is a local attorney, and Jane have been able to welcome in-person guests to their unique art gallery, they are planning for the future. Their plan is to continue to share joy through paintings, photos, sculptures and films, promote local and regional artists and their works and offer seminars on art, spiritual issues and encouragement.
“We plan to have three sessions two months out of each year,” Dave said. “At the end of each session, artists will be able to display their work and there will be special sales events.”
Dave describes what is currently displayed as “eclectic,” and “a little bit of everything,” from metal to woodwork to fiber and fabric arts to different types of paintings to jewelry making. Performing arts, which hadn’t been in the original plan, is already scheduled for the November/December show.
“We are open to trying anything that is positive and encouraging,” Dave said. “One thing we are trying to do is get people comfortable with their own artistic abilities. When we are young, we are much more creative and when we get older, we no longer think we are good enough. We want people to be themselves and explore their creativity.”
The Joy & Whimsy Depot is free and open to everyone. For more information, visit joywhimsydepot.com.
Contact this contributing writer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author