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The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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Huntington Hotspots: Sloane Square Gallery

Jamie+Sloane+and+Jimmy+Hobbs+own+the+Sloane+Square+Gallery+in+Huntington.+
Maggie Gibbs
Jamie Sloane and Jimmy Hobbs own the Sloane Square Gallery in Huntington.

At Sloane Square Gallery, lifestyle and art find harmony. Recognized by the Herald-Dispatch as the Best in the Tri-State in 2023, this gallery is unlike any other. Like a scene out of “Alice in Wonderland,” the accessories ask to be touched, the chairs to be sat in, the candy to be eaten and the piano to be played. The owners, designer Jimmy Hobbs and artist Jamie Sloane, are trying to “break the stigma attached to art galleries.”  

A Huntington native, Sloane split his time between Columbus, Ohio, where he spent his school year, and his summers in Wayne County. He attributes his artistic and musical talent to his mother. 

“People thought we were wealthy just because mom was so creative, making everything out of nothing: curtains, clothes, everything,” he reminisced. “I would ask her, ‘Where did you learn that,’ and she would just shrug and go, ‘I don’t know; I just did it.” 

Initially trained as a composer, Sloane returned to West Virginia after a stint trying to compose for movies in California. Sloane and Hobbs initially connected sixteen years ago when Sloane was a budding artist living in Gallipolis, Ohio. Initially mistaking him for a collector due to the abundance of artwork in his family home, Hobbs was shocked when he learned that Sloane had painted everything himself. 

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Encouraging him to sell his work, Hobbs said, “You don’t know me well enough to know that this is a compliment, but I would hang these in my home.”

Hobbs grew up in Gallipolis, and was born with a love of antiques and an eye for design. As a little child, he would be caught rearranging people’s décor. 

“My mom said then, ‘I always knew what you were going to do for a living,’” Hobbs said. 

So, while Sloane paints every piece of art in the gallery, Hobbs is the curator, meticulously selecting everything, from accessories to furniture to rugs. However, unlike most galleries, it is set up with the average person in mind. 

“Our hanging system is at eight feet, on purpose, so that you can see how these paintings can work in your home,” Hobbs said. Even the room settings are created to mimic the average home. 

Hobbs added options about different price ranges, saying, “I make sure there are things in the store that, for example, every Marshall student can afford to decorate their homes with.” 

Besides his natural eye for design, Hobbs credits his love for this line of work to working in the service industry for over 35 years, finding people to be the best part of his work, a love that persists.

After the two met, Hobbs was the driving factor in Sloane displaying and selling his art. 

“He pulled me out of obscurity,” Sloane said. Without Sloane’s knowledge, Hobbs scheduled him for an art show at the French Art Colony in Gallipolis. “I told him I wasn’t ready,” Sloane recalled, “and he told me, ‘You’ll never feel ready; you just have to do it.’” 

Today, Sloane has had three solo shows at the Huntington Museum of Art, one of which is his Visitor’s Series, which features a portrait of his mother, “Just Do It.”

Their gallery opened on July 1, 2021, and people lined the sidewalks in the rain to see it.

Sloane’s entire collection sold out that day; today, his pieces sell almost immediately. In addition to paintings, Sloane also produces a clothing and accessory line using his paintings, most notably his “The Master’s Series,” depicting notable artists such as Salvador Dali, Gustav Klimt, Frida Kahlo, Jean-Michel Basquiat and more.

Looking ahead, the Sloane Gallery is not just a dream, it’s a reality. Hobbs and Sloane are not just dreamers, they are doers. Their unwavering commitment to supporting other artists is a testament to their belief in the transformative power of art. Sloane has three more series in the pipeline, and they are preparing to welcome a new neighbor, Beth Darby, who is opening an apothecary. Darby generously purchased the corner lot for their shared use. 

Hobbs explained, “The lot on the side will be a space where artists can exhibit their works free of charge because most artists don’t have the funds to rent out spaces; we didn’t. So, we always said that if we got to a better place, we would make sure and help people, and now it’s a reality.”

If you’re eager to delve deeper into Jamie Sloane’s artistic process, a PBS documentary about him, “VISITEURS,” is available on YouTube. Experience the magic of Sloane Gallery yourself in Central City at 611 14th W. Each visit is unique as the gallery is constantly evolving.

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