By Stacy Thomas
Fans and patrons of the arts can enjoy an indoor art festival of sorts year round at Copper Moon Gallery in New Albany. Owner Kim Murphy Johnson has been the director of Sellersburg’s Art in Speed Park for the last 20 years. Then, On Nov. 1, 2013, Johnson opened her gallery in a quaint, yet beautifully renovated historic building at 221 Pearl St., putting art back into the heart of downtown New Albany.
“This building was built in the 1800s. The white tin ceiling, wood floors and brick walls make a natural backdrop for the art work,” Johnson said. “I have always wanted to open a gallery. Why should you have to wait every season to see new art? I love the pleasure people experience when they connect with the right piece. Art is emotion.”
Copper Moon is a gallery of American artists and craftspeople from across the nation. Johnson travels to art fairs and shows across the country – personally curating a collection – to bring back the experience of an art fair to her customers. “I have found my favorite artists and art pieces and brought them inside, under one roof, year-round,” Johnson said.
Johnson, who believes that art should be available and affordable to everyone, and even offers a flexible payment plan to customers, admits to having small pangs of heartbreak when her favorite pieces sell. “I choose things I would buy for myself, or put in my own home, or give away as gifts. I truly love what I do – the art and the artists,” she said.
Born and raised in New Albany, Johnson has a vested interest in her hometown and is excited about the energy emerging downtown. “People are really starting to take ownership of Southern Indiana. I am one of many who take pride and have love and passion for this region. I stay diligent to make things happen and make a difference in my community.”
Although not an artist herself, Johnson is creative in many ways and has a natural eye. She describes Copper Moon as an extension of her home, inviting guests to touch the work and really feel it. Johnson is passionate about the artists represented in her gallery and knows them personally. “I pride myself on my ability to explain the techniques behind the work, and tell the story of the piece,” she said. “It is an honor to provide a venue to introduce their craft and work to a new audience of people. People often walk in and ask, ‘Am I in New Albany?’”
Owner presence is important to Johnson, and you can often find her working in her own gallery. “I celebrate the heart of the people who love, care, and work their (tails) off to bring art to Southern Indiana. Buying a piece of art is a memorable experience, and life is about making memories.”