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Pequot Lakes art scene grows by two businesses

Sarah and Thomas Jungels opened Red Ruby Art Gallery and Gifts on Government Drive in Pequot Lakes to create a space for artists like them to share their talents.1 / 2
James and Shannon Watkins of Jenkins opened Faith Boost in Pequot Lakes as both a craft shop and a meeting place for faith based groups.2 / 2

Pequot Lakes recently became home to two new art businesses, one on each side of town.

Faith Boost

Art and the soul are Faith Boost's business.

Owners James and Shannon Watkins opened their custom sign and craft shop on Front Street in Pequot Lakes not only as a place to display their products, but as a place for people to hold faith gatherings. The business was born from a service James, a remodeler, provided for his customers.

"I was making signs for customers in each of the homes and each remodel I did with baths and kitchens and stuff like that," James said. "We knew we wanted to open in a faith base, so we opened up with faith signs and got into kitchens and found out up here there are a lot of up north and cabin custom signs. It's just kind of grown up there."

They work in whatever materials are left over from remodels. Their shelves are stocked with items made of crown molding, galvanized corrugated metal, barn wood and other rustic materials.

"The materials can go anywhere from A-Z just like the lettering itself," James said. "These are custom crafts and they are one of a kind so when I go out to find something, it may have started as a candlestick holder, but when I cut the metal up it might become the accent to a guitar and the hook becomes a piece to a sign that hangs a coffee mug. The horseshoe creates a doorway. From anything I like to take something and repurpose, resalvage or reuse it. It's art in a sense."

Signs have been the best-seller since the shop opened May 12.

The shop space also has a gathering area in the back, which the Watkinses use for faith-based gatherings, including live music the first Friday of every month and worship events and movies the second Saturday. They hope to expand the faith part of the business down the road.

"We would eventually like to start a recovery program with Bible studies and really drive the faith-based community action aspect," Shannon said.

Faith Boost comes from the name of a recovery group the Watkinses hosted in the Cities. While living there they participated in craft shows, but never ran a shop.

Faith Boost is open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays or by appointment. The phone number is on the business's door.

Red Ruby

Red Ruby Art Gallery and Gifts is technically the newest addition to the art scene in Pequot Lakes as of June 2.

However, owners Thomas and Sarah Jungels, of Jenkins, are not new to the art scene at all.

"I've always been interested in drawing and art classes," Thomas said. "I've been creative since I was little. I just like to take what's in my mind and put it on canvas."

"I've always been crafty," Sarah said. "I just find crocheting relaxing."

Thomas, a former Pequot Lakes resident and former body shop owner, wanted to open an art gallery to create a place to display his art and that of others.

"I began painting two years ago. Before that I just drew," Thomas said. "I wanted to put color to my art and I wanted a place to display my art. I brought the idea to my wife. I pretty much decided I didn't just want it to be about me so I opened it to all Minnesota-based artists."

The pair decided to open their own gallery on Government Drive in Pequot Lakes to indulge in creativity.

"It feels good," Sarah said. "It's a goal we've talked about a few years and then to open it to other people and see them encouraged by what we are doing. Then they're getting excited as more people come in."

The gallery features paintings, sculpting, leather imprints and other works of arts. Sarah and Thomas have displayed some of their works at galleries, in contests and at the fair.

The shop is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, though they also have an online store at Redrubyartgalleryandgifts.com.