Bloom. A Contemporary Art Gallery in Thomas, West VirginiaOctober 25, 2018
The sign of a healthy tourism destination can often be determined by the population of resident artists and galleries, such as Bloom art gallery that support them. Much like the population of native brook trout found throughout Tucker County streams is the ultimate bellwether of a healthy, natural environment. Bloom thrives on the fresh air and infectious enthusiasm that surrounds the small mountain town of Thomas, WV. In case you have not heard, Thomas has transformed from a frontier Appalachian town into a snappy avant-garde masterpiece.
I met up with Morgan Smith, the owner and curator of Bloom art gallery for some insight into Bloom and the organic art movement underway. Like many of the pilgrims who have moved to Thomas and Davis, West Virginia in the past two decades, Morgan’s unbound fervor was ignited by his trip to Dolly Sods Wilderness and what lies within the mountains of Tucker County. “A trip to the sods was planned, being spiritually moved by a magical Thomas, West Virginia, was not.” The bags were packed for a new home in 2013. Ready to embrace the youthful entrepreneurs populating affordable store fronts along historic Thomas’s front street.
Art was intriguing to this Pittsburgh native whose early personal expressions came in the form of photography and snowboarding. After years of leather working Morgan had found a passion, but something was missing. His drive to form a small business. Bloom’s neighbor, The White Room art gallery co-op community space was filling fast. The demand for art was through the roof. Smith was enthralled by the mastery oozing from contemporary artists and the feeling of the true small community that is Thomas, WV. In May of 2014 Bloom was born as a result of necessity and personal observation. Curator and proprietor of Bloom art gallery are now Morgan’s official titles.
Bloom gallery is situated along the row of 100 plus year old brick buildings in Thomas that are home to dozens of locally owned businesses. The facade is precise. Intentionally orchestrated to invite even the most uncultivated guest into a foreign environment. Lamplight gallery is not complicated, but fun. There is plenty of personal space to whisper what you may be thinking without fellow patrons questioning your sanity or use of hallucinogens. Yes, your spirit will go on a bit of a roller coaster ride. This is the difference between traditional art and contemporary art; it is what sets Bloom and Thomas, West Virginia apart.
Twenty artists from as far away as Chicago are represented by Morgan and his staff. In order to showcase all the perspective art at one time the studio would suffer, not allowing for good feng shui of the space. From this came two ingenious ideas; one beneficial to the art community and the other benefiting the customer. On my visit, four artists were featured. In the coming months there will be a complete transformation of Bloom, ushering in the next batch of talent. The ever important repeat customer have become common place at Bloom and are taking notice. When you exceed the expectations of this type of patron, your business is firing on all cylinders.
Making the featured changeover is no easy task, therefore Morgan wanted to make the most out of his time. The birth of Thomas Art Walks is the second result of the revolving door at Bloom. In my opinion Morgan has become more than a curator, but one of many facilitating of the art movement in Thomas. The front street business community has embraced organizing art walks including six stops for the November 10th event. For 2019 there are six art walks planned which will include live music, food truck service, and creative surprises along the boulevard. This is not a stuffy scene. Bring the kids for an unadulterated time. Dress? Haha! Do whatever feels right. This is Thomas. This is Bloom.