A Little Time and a Keyboard: The Golden Gallery is a North Carolina Art Treasure Trove

The Golden Gallery is a North Carolina Art Treasure Trove

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

**Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

On our journeys, we love to explore local art, crafts and products. While we were in Wilmington, North Carolina, we ventured into The Golden Gallery in the Cotton Exchange. We were so lucky to find artist and gallery owner Mary Ellen Golden available during our visit, so I was able to speak to her a bit about her vision. Not only is she a talented woman but is a truly lovely lady happy to share her creations.

The location of the gallery is full of history and stories to tell itself. The charming cluster of restored brick buildings connected by alleys and causeways immediately invite exploration. As the name implies, the Cotton Exchange was originally the site for shipping cotton to other ports in America and Europe. Other buildings served as a flour warehouse, a granary producing cornmeal, hominy and grits, a wholesale grocery and peanut cleaning operation, a saloon and more. The historic cluster of buildings now is an adorable place for visitors to enjoy shopping and having a bite to eat. When Mary Ellen saw that the site was being renovated for stores back in 1977, she immediately new that it was the perfect site for here gallery. After visiting, I have to say she was right!

When you first enter The Golden Gallery, you notice there is a vast range of artwork seemingly unfolding before you. The gallery holds the artwork of various Golden Family members and close friends of the family. Water colors, photos, jewelry, digital art, collage art and more populate the inviting studio! Mary Ellen's emphasis on regional scenes and wildlife in particular show her love for the Wilmington area. So, opening a studio in a structure tied so completely with the history of Wilmington is so perfect!

Mary Ellen is very gifted in her representation of natural landscapes and profiling the magnificent creatures that she finds in the natural world. She finds the dragonfly as her particular muse and I have to say her dragonfly creations are magical. Of course, her coastal landscapes, lighthouses, turtles and more are just as captivating. She paints her magic with watercolors but also is gifted in photography.

My family isn't the only one in love with the art at The Golden Gallery--Hollywood also is a fan! The art of John W. Golden, Mary Ellen's son, has appeared in Dawson's Creek and One Tree Hill. John creates fantastic images and collages digitally. My daughter was particularly enamored with his dog collection and left with a wonderful Australian Shepherd magnet. On the day we arrived, we heard about a bit more of Hollywood excitement. Another film crew had arrived to choose pieces for their current project. Pretty cool!

The Golden Gallery is really the perfect place to stop on a North Carolina vacation to pick up a little piece of the region to bring home with you! We were so impressed by the range of art including not only a great breadth of subjects but also sizes and price ranges. Block art, framed art, magnets, cards, jewelry and more--you will find some treasure to take home to remember your travels! I have always found purchasing local art to be a truly meaningful way to remember my vacations. I will always fondly remember my Wilmington vacation when I look at my lovely Mary Ellen Golden Marshland Giclee!


  1. Mel, you did a great job enjoying all things Wilmington. I enjoyed talking with you and appreciate the beautiful blog about The Golden Gallery. I am also enjoying the other blogs about Wilmington NC and appreciate your visiting our city. Thank you!

    1. You are welcome, Mary Ellen! We are totally captivated by Wilmington and hope others come to visit. The Golden Gallery is the perfect place to pick up something to bring home! Hope to come your way again!