Two local artists, Justin Moe and Brent Martin, recently took the time to help the CareNet thrift store gain some attention. After being rallied by thrift store volunteer Debby Boots, the two used their skills to produce two signs for the benefit of the store.
Macon County CareNet is a local nonprofit organization that serves about one in eight people in Macon County that are currently living at or below the poverty level. The goal of the organization is to provide immediate help to those individuals who are referred to them by local churches and agencies. CareNet primarily operates with the assistance of donations and volunteers. The thrift store opened in 1997 with the purpose of compensating for the overhead of the ministry, allowing more funding and expansion as well as a source of items needed by clients. The CareNet Thrift Store is located at 268 East Palmer Street in Franklin.
Moe produced a wooden sign that can be found on Main Street directing passers-by down the alleyway towards the store.
“The medium is called Pyrography and I've been doing it for about eight months now, so it’s a relatively new exploration for me and I thoroughly enjoy it,” he said. “There is some kind of primal connection to the process in that you are using “fire” to “paint” on the wood.”
Art has always been a part of Moe’s life, but in 2002, while living in Asheville, he decided to really dedicate himself to the skill he is passionate about.
“I had shows at cafés, book stores, dive bars, street festivals, and a hair salon among other places. I've continued to show and produce art at various venues since then. Art is what I do, it’s my passion. I have no formal training and for this reason, I guess I might be labeled an Outsider Artist. Labels aren't important to me though, like I said, art is what I do and what I love to do most. I like to experiment with as many different mediums as possible. In addition to visual art, I've had poems published and have played in bands off and on for a good while,” said Moe.
He pointed to the needs that CareNet fulfills and the roles that it and similar organizations play in the community as the reason behind his altruism.
“I decided to make the CareNet sign because I think it's important as human beings to use your talents and resources, whatever they may be, to help people whenever and however you can. I love that my various art forms have been used to benefit individuals in need and organizations such as CareNet, REACH and the Humane Society,” he said. “Giving back when you can seems to be the human thing to do. I appreciate that CareNet feeds people in need and also helps with utilities assistance when they can. The number of families and individuals who are experiencing ‘food uncertainty’ in Macon County is pretty staggering. I just wanted to do my part to try and help.”
The wood that was used for the sign was donated by Lowes of Franklin. CareNet Executive Director Shaina Adkins was pleasantly surprised by the recent donations and extremely thankful for the hard work of the artists.
“I must admit, it never ceases to amaze me by the generosity and creativity of the folks here in Macon County. The willingness to share not only their time, but their creativity in constructing these phenomenal pieces of art to be used as a signs for our Thrift Store is beyond word,” she said. “We think it fits right in with ‘the feel of our thrift store’ from the rugged/vintage look to the ‘right at home’ inventory we have daily at the store. On behalf of the board of directors and staff at the CareNet Thrift Store, I wish to thank both Justin Moe and Brent Martin for their time and donation to our ministry. It's through the efforts of individuals like Justin and Brent that we are able to continue our efforts to provide assistance to families in need, during times of crisis, right here in Macon County.”