Sierra Watson

The Key Note

Bringing you the good news during hard times.

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Jul 07

Our Local Business Spotlight -Taupe Gallery

Posted on July 7, 2020 at 3:52 PM by Crystal Keener

Art, history, and culture are back under the spotlight.

Lights turned off as early as March in museums and art galleries in Wilkes County during the coronavirus pandemic. For Taupe Gallery, their daily operations have now drastically changed as they wait to flip the switch back on permanently.

Taupe Gallery is the love of its purveyors Jim Lyall and Steve Key. Together for 9 years, they have explored the foothills and mountain region of North Carolina. Jim and Steve have lived in Wilkes County since childhood, and with so many talented artists living in the mountains of NC, they decided Downtown North Wilkesboro would be an exemplary spot to open their gallery. 

Taupe Gallery is an unexpected surprise nestled off 10th Street. Founded in 2010, the vignettes of clay, paintings, glass, and jewelry converge into a warm and inviting experience. When Jim and Steve decided to embark on this adventure, they wanted to open a contemporary art gallery with edgy products, just a tad away from traditional pottery and paintings.

Visitors to Taupe Gallery often comment that they have “never seen a collection of artists with their works so unique to any other gallery” as Jim and Steve take pride in having an awe-inspiring eye for finding pieces that are unconventional and special. One of Taupe’s  guidelines is to offer only handcrafted, one-of-a-kind works. Jim and Steve spend their time visiting as many artists as possible, learning how they work, and hand-picking art for their shop. Jim and Steve simply stated, “If we like it, we can sell it!”

The culmination of their quests is a varied array of hundreds of artists they meet and collaborate with to bring you the creations you seek. “While we showcase over 125 artists from all over the country, 75% of the artists are from Western NC and surrounding areas, with the other 25% from out of state.” 

Patrons have been overheard saying, "I had no idea such a wonderful gallery existed here!" "This is the kind of space you see in a big city without all the stuffiness.""I didn’t know what I wanted until Jim and Steve listened to what I had in mind." Their talents are limitless! 

These comments, and countless others, are the results of Jim and Steve making art something you talk about, touch, photograph, and experience in your home. The cold, antiseptic, stand-off, and gasp! at the price is the complete opposite attitude of Taupe Gallery. Walking in, you immediately feel the colors, textures, and comfort of stepping into the home of a friend. 

Unlike other galleries, Jim and Steve welcome you to take pictures and experience the art. They will even coordinate with you to see what piece of art you are considering, and what it will look like in your home! Jim and Steve offer a unique local experience as they will arrange to bring the art to your home to get a feel for it in your own environment. 

Taupe’s top priorities now are focusing on updating their web-page, creating a new online store, and giving their Facebook and Instagram pages a makeover through their new marketing program.

Jim and Steve are ready to welcome the North Wilkesboro community back into the Gallery with more stories than ever, and that same familiar smile (even if it is under a mask). 

I personally am anxious to finally stand in front of a piece of art, and allow my mind to become consumed by it. And just for a moment, let all other worries subside.

Jim and Steve are currently working in the Gallery with limited hours each week and by appointment only, so make sure to call ahead before making your trip (and they unquestionably are worth the trip!). Continue to check their website at and follow their newly remodeled social media platforms @TaupeGallery for more updates! 

Thank you Jim and Steve for bringing the perspective of an artist to others. I cannot stress enough the power of art, to teach art, and to allow ourselves and our children to live with a national tradition of art, because the arts give us the tools and means for connecting and communicating about the way we see the world (yes, even in a pandemic).