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Newbill Collection By The Sea Celebrates 25 Years in Seaside

April 17, 2018 by Manny Chavez

As the owner of the longest-running gallery at Seaside’s Ruskin Place art colony, Annette Newbill Trujillo knew she wanted to celebrate her 25th anniversary in a sweet way.

Let’s see…chocolate, champagne…. chocolate AND champagne! So, for three days beginning March 15, she, her husband Patrick and store associate Cheryl Morrison greeted their patrons with chocolates and the bubbly.

It was fitting that the unofficial mayor of Seaside, Glen Seawell, would join in the toasting and tasting as he and Annette reminisced about the early days of Seaside and how Newbill Collection by the Sea came to be.

“Glen and I knew each other from the old days, prior to Seaside’s beginnings when I was representing artists internationally (I didn’t own a gallery at the time) and living in Panama City. He decided to build the fourth three-story structure in Ruskin Place (1992) and lease out the bottom floor as an art gallery. That was my cue to start Newbill and we have leased from him ever since,” explains Annette.

“Our gallery, Newbill Collection by the Sea, has represented North American artists, most of whom have been from the South, since March 15, 1993. Some of the artists have been with me since day one, primarily since they have managed to keep their work refreshed.”

Visitors to Ruskin Place are often surprised by the tranquility of the small artist colony. On the north end, near the Seaside Chapel, the twisted scrub oaks occupy the center of the space and fan out toward the outer edges with the various galleries fronting the square. Just outside the Newbill Gallery entrance, the gnarly oak branches provide a perfect hanging-place for her copper garden art sculptures. Wooden benches and a well-planned low-rise concrete border allow a resting place for casual people-watching, personal contemplation, and… gallery shopping!

Asked to what she attributes her longevity at Ruskin Place, Annette is modest and sincere with her response, “I’ve worked hard to represent what I consider to be the very best artists in the categories of art that they work in. We have wonderful art jewelry, many of which are pieces that have a real architectural sensibility.  Because we are in a noted architectural community, people who come here (to Seaside) are sensitized to the beauty of architecture so that translates into wearables that have an architectural feel to them. We have had several architects that have made jewelry over the years. When they get into an art form, jewelry or painting for example, they can experience instant gratification instead of having to wait so long for their building designs to come to life.”

The Newbill Collection comprises a varied selection of art… from the whimsical to the profound, depending on your point of view. Hand-crafted jewelry, folk art, photography, garden art, original paintings, and hand-done wearable clothing to name a few. Carolyne White, an 83-year old artist from Tennessee, has her one-of-a-kind hand knitted and felted hats, wraps converted from Pashmina Scarfs, hand-knitted shawls and asymmetrical wraps.

Probably the most collected artist to have her work represented by Newbill is late artist Ann “Frantic” Morley from Pensacola whose Giclée paintings are still available in a limited production. Several of the artists represented in Newbill have a large collector base and include Mary “Ching” Walters, whose drawings and paintings depict her natural surroundings (her shore birds are a big draw). Her drawings have been used on over 90 postage stamps for several countries.
Although Annette has quality art for sale, what keeps people coming back probably has a much to do with her Southern charm as anything. Her artistic knowledge coupled with that charming accent will keep people coming back!

“Having a gallery in a ‘vacation town’ is a big plus…. everyone coming here is happy! They are not in a hurry and it is very pleasurable to interact with happy people…they are not worried about time here at Seaside!”

Annette is appreciative of all her blessings including her husband Patrick, her gallery associates throughout the years, her landlord Glen Seawell, her many customers, the Seaside homeowners, and fellow Ruskin Place Art Colony neighbors.

Visit Newbill Collection by the Sea at 309 Ruskin Place, in the heart of Seaside Ruskin Place Art Colony, near the Seaside Chapel, Phone: 850-231-4500.

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Manny Chavez's picture

Manny Chavez

Manny has been a working photojournalist his entire career and is now writing stories/taking pix for SoWal.com. He and his wife Kris live in Seagrove and have “seen a lot come and go.” Lots of stories have been told, with lots more to come!

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