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Photo from Raye Brooks / "Cloudy Day" by Caroline Berk.

Members of the Civic Arts League are contemplating the "Wonders of October" in their latest exhibit, on view through Oct. 29 at Ringgold Art & Frame Gallery.

Gallery owner Raye Brooks says mounting the exhibition has been a chance to contemplate the wonders of Ringgold as well.

A hard rain flooded the North Georgia city's downtown historic district in early July. The gallery and a coffee shop next door were particularly hard hit. Brooks says she had a foot of water in the back of her building and 8 inches in front.

"I was almost ready to give it up," she says. "But I've been in the gallery business since 1976 [and at Ringgold Art & Frame since 2001]. It's the only thing I know."

The gallery was closed for a month during the cleanup.

"My husband kicked in and got crews in here," she says. "We pulled out carpets and baseboards, and bleached and bleached and bleached."

some text Photo from Raye Brooks / "October Foliage" by Faye Ives.

She was also buoyed by the spirit of cooperation among the other members of Ringgold Downtown Partners, a business development organization she is president of.

"We had many, many volunteers who helped us out," she says. "I even had the mayor and his wife in here painting. This community really comes together when you have a crisis."

She reopened in August, but "Wonders of October" is the first full-scale exhibition she has had in the space since the cleanup.

"I've always had the Civics in October," she says. "I've been doing that for years."

Seventeen artists are represented in the show, about half of the membership, according to Lynne Mayer, the group's art director. Their paintings include watercolors, acrylics and oils.

Publicity director Cindy McCashin says the October show gives the artists a chance to "celebrate the season's changes by dusting off their fall color palettes." They relish anew, she says, the use of typically fall colors like burnt orange, raw umber, yellow ochre, soft muted shades of gold and green, and the clear deep blue of fall skies.

some text Photo from Raye Brooks / "Lost City" by Sherry Collins Hodan.

Brooks says anyone who hasn't visited the gallery in a while may be surprised by the changes wrought by the flood. Once the gutted space was repainted and recarpeted, "I had a blank palette," she says.

She called upon the services of designer Melodie Church at Kudzu Interiors for her redesign, which includes repurposed floor and wall space and new shelving for pottery.

"Now, to me, it looks like a real gallery," Brooks says.

Other visitors have told her it looks "huge compared to what it did," she says, but the dimensions stayed the same. "We just re- arranged," she says.

"I'm very pleased with it. It's a place to be proud of when you walk in the door."

If you go

› What: “Wonders of October” by Civic Arts League of Chattanooga

› When: Through Oct. 29

› Where: Ringgold Art & Frame Gallery, 7825 Nashville St., Ringgold, Ga.

› Hours: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, Saturday by appointment

› Phone: 706-935-2844

› Online: www.ringgoldart.com

Contact Lisa Denton at ldenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6281.

some text Photo from Raye Brooks / "Daylight in the Meadow" by Sandra Babb.
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