by Zacch Estrada-Petersen

DAVIDSON – The name says it all. It’s a sanctuary of creativity.

A haven for about 35 artists who love to share their creative gifts, the Sanctuary of Davidson is a gallery founded by full-time actress-turned-painter Kristen Feighery. Its three-year anniversary was in September.

“It’s a cooperative gallery,” she said. “And all the artists in the gallery are local. Everything is handmade, and I don’t allow anything to be mass-produced.”

Rather than having employees, the artists take turns working at the store and selling each other’s work. What also sets the gallery apart is that even though it is a for-profit business at 108 S. Main St., Feighery puts nearly all of the proceeds toward charitable causes.

“A lot of the money from the gallery goes into mission work,” she said. “We support little kids in India at this really small orphanage where it’s really just my church that helps. My husband and I have been sponsoring a little girl over there for three years, and then the gallery sponsors one child, too.”

Feighery and husband of 11 years, Kevin, recently returned from a visit to the orphanage.

“We had an opportunity to go over there and spend some time with the kids that we’ve been supporting,” he said.

Outside of the mission work, however, Kevin’s artistic involvement with the gallery is limited.

“I’m the light-bulb changer, pretty much,” Kevin said jokingly. “But I’m really more of a support person for Kristy.”

In the beginning, Feighery had no intention of running her own gallery. After her work was featured in another gallery in the same location, the owner approached her with an offer to take it over.

“He pretty much just handed me the key,” she said, laughing.

“I really had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but I just felt good about it and I felt like it was the right thing to do. I really had a heart for helping other artists who were like me – who were virtually unknown and really loved art and making things and are good at it, but maybe just needed the confidence to actually take that first step and try to sell it.”

One such artist is Angela Statzer, who has been working with the gallery for 2 1/2 years. Her work includes sewing, mixed media and woodworking. One of her main artistic ventures, though, is the restoration of what some may consider junk.

“I take a lot of stuff out of my neighbors’ trash and stuff I find at the Habitat store,” Statzer said. “Then I take a lot of fabrics, vintage items, buttons and jewelry and turn it from trash to treasure.”

She first connected with Sanctuary after taking an art class with Feighery.

“I was there with a bunch of friends that evening and I brought some of my artwork,” Feighery said. “She saw it and said ‘OK, bring it in.’”

Although Statzer has been selling her creations through other venues for years and even has her own blog and a shop on Etsy, she appreciates the hands-on experience that Sanctuary gives her buyers.

“I feel like with art, it’s such an emotional purchase,” she said. “People have to kind of touch it, see it and feel it. So having a place where you can display your items, it just sells so much better.”

Want to learn more?

For more information, call 704-892-0044 or visit