TUOIA is an art gallery plus gift shop, a dream project started in 2014 by three sisters. The acronym stands for The Uniqueness Of It All, and all objects in the store are one-of-a-kind handcrafted treasures. Juanita Galbreath, Co-Owner, says that "When you come to visit TUOIA you can expect to see beautifully framed works of art, original paints, beautiful hand crafted blown and fused glass, pottery, beautiful original jewelry, barware, amazing clocks, incredible quilts, and iron puzzles. Basically you will find a gift-givers paradise."
Located in the historic Douglasville downtown, Tuoia also offers custom framing. The three sisters, who live in different states, divide up the work of the store according to location and preference. Galbreath explains that "Gabi, who lives in Tennessee, manages our web site and social media, while Mausi, the resident artist and master framer, lives in Douglasville and manages the day-to-day operations of TUOIA." Galbreath herself lives in Maryland and handles the business and purchasing end of things.
The frame shop/gallery/boutique takes its spirit from the warm and upbeat personalities of the sisters. In particular, the shop is "the realization of a life-long dream of Mausi, who as an artist and framer, always wanted to have a local gathering place for artists of every discipline", says Galbreath. On retirement, Galbreath used her pension funds, from over 30 years of working for the Federal Government, to help Mausi realize her dream.
The shop has quickly become a local favorite and a regular stop and meeting place for people even if they're not planning on making a purchase. There's even a seating area specially for the purpose.The gallery exhibits original artwork by Mausi as well as the work of local and unknown artists, in an "Artist of the Month" exhibit. The artworks include original paintings, photography, crafted items and prints. Tuioa also offers art classes and a Dip and Dabble painting class.
True to its name, the shop has only handcrafted, unique items. There is nothing in the gift shop that is mass produced. The shop also showcases the handcrafted quilts created by Tante Pueppe. Among the unique offerings, there's a new Flower Power Adult Coloring book with illustrations by Mausi. The handcrafted puzzles are based on old designs made by blacksmiths, back when there were blacksmiths.
Due to both location and inclination, Tuoia plays an active part in the life of the community, by participating in events such as the downtown art walks. Tuoia and Mausi also support programs in local schools through contributions to nonprofits like Beyond the Front Porch.