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Pop-up business offers arts, crafts and gifts

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Anita Waters, the proprietor of Mamoo's Folk Art downtown, is shown here Wednesday with her husband, John, and the couple's dog. The pop-up establishment opened in late October and is going to be open through the rest of this month.

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By William F. West
Staff Writer

Sunday, December 2, 2018

A pop-up arts, crafts and gifts establishment is open downtown – and the sights and sounds of the place are quite different from any other in the Harbor of Hospitality.

Those entering Mamoo’s Folk Art, in the 100 block of North Poindexter Street, will hear Cajun dance music. Additionally, there’s a variety of clothing, furniture, jewelry, paintings and pottery for sale.   

"It's a gallery and vintage shop all in one," said Anita Waters, the proprietor. "And it's also an art space."

The Mamoo’s name is a reference to what Waters' late mother was called.

As for the sounds in Mamoo's Folk Art, Waters, an Atlanta native, said she danced to Cajun music while living in the Georgia seat of government. She also noted the city has a Cajun dance society.

Mamoo's Folk Art opened in late October, in the midst of the annual autumn Splash! show downtown. Artist Carolyn Peel started Splash!, which grew into a week-long event that brings artists from near and far to the Pasquotank County seat and provides residents a chance to meet and interact with the artists.

Waters said Mamoo's Folk Art is going to remain open through the end of this month.

Of the paintings on display, Waters said, "Most of it is local art – and some of the art is from Splash! artists that were here recently."

"And they have the confidence to leave some of their fine art here," she said.

Waters credits landlord Pat Harriss and Peel with helping incubate Mamoo's Folk Art and local resident Kit Neiderer with styling the interior.

"So many people came forward and volunteered," she said of people who assisted in helping get the place started. "Everyone came forward spontaneously and contributed."

Waters said in the meantime the reaction of those entering Mamoo's Folk Art has been incredible.

"They said they have never seen anything like it," she said.

Also, Mamoo's Folk Art includes art by Waters' husband's grandmother Ruth Scarlott, who was a well-known and award-winning artist in Virginia's Hampton Roads area. Scarlott died in 2010 at age 87.

Waters earned a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia in 1989 – and she has quite a diverse background in the arts, business and public relations.

She said she sold advertising for Rodale Press, worked in public relations for Delta Air Lines and worked in sales for Neiman Marcus in Atlanta's Lenox Square shopping center. She also said she had an antiques and gift shop in Byron, Georgia.

Waters said she moved to northeastern North Carolina so her husband, John, could be near his family in Hampton Roads. He works in purchasing at Coast Guard Base Elizabeth City.

As for the future of Mamoo's Folk Art, Waters doesn't know at the moment where all of this is going, although she acknowledged she's presently in popular demand.

"I think a brand might have emerged before my very eyes – and I might have been discovered as an artist. The whole thing has caught me by surprise," she said.

"I'm shocked because everyone has come forward to contribute – and they want to keep it going," she said.

Mamoo's Folk Art is at 112 N. Poindexter, in what was the location of a hair studio. The business is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, through December. Mamoo's Folk Art can be reached by phone at 757-773-3889 and has a page on Facebook.

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