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Wild Oats And Billy Goats Is Whimsical And Inspiring

By S. Mathur

The folk art gallery is every bit as quirky and whimsical as the name suggests. With a wide selection of art and handcrafted goods from local and regional artists it's always worth a visit. There's bound to be something new among all the paintings, sculpture, and pottery. For gifts, personal and home use, visitors will find jewelry, candles, furniture and home goods. Wild Oats and Billy Goats opened eight years ago in Decatur, GA and has thrived on community support, even during the lean years of the economy.

For owner Weatherly Munroe, it's difficult to pick a favorite piece, and her dilemma is one that's familiar to other gallery and antique store owners. She wants to take it all home.

"I love the bright colored florals of Lee Ann Slotkin, the whimsical brightly colored pigs from Bailey Jack, the sweet faces on the creatures painted by Sandy Erikson Wright, the clay face pots of Roy Clark Sams, and the slew of beautiful hand-crafted jewelry pieces?. but every day, it's something new," she said. "Artists are constantly changing out their work, so there's always a new piece to love."

Munroe has been a collector of folk art for years and was inspired by art spaces she has seen elsewhere to open her own gallery. At the time when Wild Oats and Billy Goats opened, there weren't too many places where local artists and hand-crafters could show their work. In 2016, a second location opened in Roswell, GA.

Munroe chooses work that will bring a sense of the artists' happiness to the gallery.

"We offer a happy place where people can come for inspiration, a burst of laughter, or to appreciate the creativity of others," she said. "Our gallery is quirky, original, and never the same place twice. We like to offer something for every budget and every taste, but those with imagination and the quest for whimsy find themselves at home here."

To be selected for display, artwork has to be different and out-of-the ordinary as also original and hand-crafted.

"We look for artwork that is joyous and uplifting, and artists who mimic those qualities," Munroe said. "There are so many talented local and Southeastern artists, and we are fortunate to have so many represented in the gallery. We love how our artists are always changing and reinventing themselves, and we are constantly looking for additional artists to keep our offering fresh so customers always have new inspiration on their visits."

January is a relatively quiet time at the gallery, and is used to bring in new artists and recreate the space. The gallery has become a regular stop for locals as well as visitors. An online marketplace will be launched in January, so people can shop for work by their artists even if they can't make it to the gallery in person.

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