Local art studio inspired by Global Focus | Features

Joy Hellman sees her downtown Southern Pines storefront as a launching pad where creativity can also spur positive action. From raising funds for relief efforts in Haiti to helping animal shelter organizations, she has opened her doors and her heart to help those less fortunate.

During Springfest, the city’s biggest street fair, she usually puts a few extra items along the sidewalk to attract people. This time around, she’s sharing her outdoor space with longtime friend Joy Childress, who works with Trades of Hope. Based in Bunnell, Florida, the missionary enterprise partners with groups of female artisans to create handmade pieces, through secure jobs that pay decent wages.

“I believe people see a need and want to help, but they don’t always know how. People might feel hopeless,” Childress said. “Trades of Hope makes me feel that there is hope in the world. It allows me to do my little good from my living room in Southern Pines.

“I have the space and I’m right downtown, in the center of things, so I get involved in fundraising a lot. Over the years I have contributed to a variety of causes, both local and more mundane. I am also an artist myself. I was always creating things and sharing that passion,” she said. “When I came here 15 years ago, I told my husband that more things needed to happen. My vision was to have this nice downtown studio. That’s why I called Joy of Art Studio.

Hellman teaches art classes and runs creative workshops for children and adults, including group and private lessons.

“I’ve seen the city center grow, but I’m glad it hasn’t changed much. I like the picturesque side and the trains that pass every day. Southern Pines is so unusual. We are lucky, very lucky here,” Hellman added.

Visit the Joy of Art Studio, 139 E. Pennsylvania Ave., in Southern Pines, or call (910) 528-7283 to inquire about upcoming classes and workshops.

This year, SpringFest will take place on Saturday, April 30, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in downtown Southern Pines. Both sides of Broad Street will be blocked off, and more than 160 vendors across North Carolina offer artwork, paintings, jewelry, woodwork and more, plus games, rides and live entertainment for families. The event is free.

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