When the 30A gallery where North Carolina-based artist Thomas Grossi Jr.'s painting were on display closed recently, his stepmother Cindy Grossi began looking for a new place to share his work. So she talked to her boss.
Cindy works part time at the Destin Library, which features the works of local artists in the Calhoun Room. There was no scheduled display from mid-October through mid-November. Grossi Jr.'s work, largely inspired by scenes from the Emerald Coast, where he grew up, was a perfect fit.
"We like to keep something on the walls when we can," library director Jurate Burns told The Log. "It has to be something people will enjoy looking at."
Grossi Jr. was born in Greenville, Miss., before moving to Fort Walton Beach with his family when he was 2 years old. He now lives in Apex, N.C., where he makes his living as a carpenter and cabinet maker, while painting in his spare time.
"He grew up painting and study down there at the Arts and Design Society (of Fort Walton)," Cindy Grossi said. "He tried to go the festival route. He wanted to make a living doing that, but the timing wasn't right."
Several of his paintings depict beach scenes with sands of white and blue skies. One captures the beauty of Destin's sunset skies with a swirling mix of brilliant yellows, deep purples and hints of blue holding the last remnants of the day.
A couple of the paintings display the Emerald Coast's other favorite attraction: seafood. From the bright-red crabs in a pot of boiling water to fresh-shucked oysters on a tray, the paintings are enough to make any seafood lover's stomach grumble.
Grossi Jr.'s paintings will be on display at the Destin Library through Nov. 14. Starting Nov. 15, the library will showcase a collection of works of art by city officials and employees.
"We've got some talented people in different media. Some are photographers. Some paint. Some make jewelry," Burns said.
The art exhibits are open throughout the library's operating hours. For library hours and other information, visit the website at readokaloosa.org/details_destin.html.