Creating art, breaking barriers


“To me, International Women’s Month represents our time to show who we really are,” Leila Rogers said. “It celebrates us, not just as women, but as human beings.”

In March, Trinity Mercantile & Design, in collaboration with the Decatur Arts Alliance, held an art event in celebration of International Women’s Month. The event, called Women Create ART, featured the unique work of nine local, female artists. Music– courtesy of a female DJ– and food were also provided. The showcased art varied from watercolor and acrylic paintings, multimedia, textile, ceramics, to jewelry and photography pieces.



Lisa Turner and Wallace Bryan

Interior designers Lisa Turner and Wallace Bryan opened Trinity five and a half years ago in downtown Decatur. The artwork and furniture displayed and sold in the store are hand-picked by Turner and Bryan to meet their personal taste, as well as to offer a reasonable cost to consumers.

“We like to promote local artists,” Turner said. “It gives them an opportunity to showcase work that might not be presented to the public.”

For Women Create ART, Turner and Bryan invited nine artists whose work they admire.  

“Since it was International Women’s History Month, we thought it would be fun to support women by having an all woman show,” Turner said.

The exhibit began with a reception on March 23. With the help of the Decatur Arts Alliance, the store was able to spread the word about the event through extensive publicity. Turnout was beyond their expectations.

“People in Decatur like to support local businesses,” Turner said. “The City of Decatur recognizes and supports the arts in general.”

“I think that people, when an event is well attended and purposeful, create a great energy,” Bryan said.



Shelley Rogers

Longtime Decatur resident and mother of two, Shelley Rogers was one of the artists invited to the event.

“Lisa and Wallace are very creative and inspiring designers in Decatur,” Rogers said. “I really feel like what they’ve brought to our city is so important to build community, and it gives Decatur a long needed option for creative talent, furniture, art and interior design.”

Rogers started making jewelry in 2000 as a hobby while also working in public accounting and banking. Along the way, she took several jewelry making classes to develop skills and techniques. After retiring from the financial services industry in 2010, Rogers pursued a full-time career in jewelry making.

“I needed a creative outlet,” she said. “I grew up in a time when there wasn’t much art taught in public school. I didn’t have a lot of exposure and I didn’t think I was creative.”

Rogers soon realized the full potential of her creativity as she began to experiment with her unique designs.

“A lot of [my inspiration] just comes to me in a similar way that writers get inspiration,” Rogers said. “Sometimes I’ll sketch a design that comes to my mind.”

Other times, Rogers will often draw ideas from couture, clothing design and the “beautiful colors in nature”.

Leila Rogers attended the reception and found her mother’s work, along with the work of other artists, an “inspiration”.

“I’m a fan,” Leila said. “It’s good to see women of color, and just women in general, creating and showcasing their progress and success.”

Rogers designs “statement pieces” that combine semi-precious stones, vintage pendants and various beads. The final product is eye-catching and memorable, something that’s led her to lots of success.

“When I see people walking around town wearing some of my work,” Rogers said, “it is so gratifying and never ceases to thrill me.”

The Women Create ART exhibit only furthered this feeling.

“I fell in love with jewelry making and it’s just been a passion for me, it’s been really delightful,” Rogers said.



Holly Jones

Holly Jones, another longtime Decatur resident, was also asked to showcase her artwork at the event. Jones’ area of expertise is a combination of family, wedding and portrait photography.

“I try and capture the essence of places I go,” Jones said. “Because all these special moments just pass so quickly.”

Growing up, Jones was surrounded by artwork. At the age of 13, Jones was exposed to her father’s work as a biochemist and painter, thus entering the world of drawing, painting, and photography.

In college, Jones had planned to draw and paint her way through school. However, in order to make a living, she minored in photography. Jones now operates her own business, frequently showcasing her photography skills in various art shows across the Atlanta area.

“I’ve always loved the artistic side of creating imagery versus just taking a picture,” Jones said. “So I use toy lenses, different depths of field and movement to create a ‘dreamy’ and ‘fleeting’ look in the imagery.”

At the Women Create ART Event, Jones had the opportunity to meet and connect with other artists and art buyers. This was her first time at Trinity’s venue.  

“As someone who really appreciates art, it’s always nice when someone acknowledges what you do and thinks it’s beautiful,” Jones said. “There’s no greater compliment than to have someone want to hang something that you created on their wall.”



Photos by Zidia Gibson