Arts & Culture

Art in Residence

A beloved shop sets down new roots in one of our favorite small-town escapes—Water Valley, Mississippi

Photo: All photos courtesy of The Living Room Gallery

There’s a new kid on the block in tiny Water Valley, Mississippi—the Living Room Gallery, the brainchild of Erin Austen Abbott. Abbott, who in 2009 opened Amelia Presents, the Oxford shop known the world over for handmade goods with a decidedly modern aesthetic, switched locations earlier this year, and art is the primary focus of her new endeavor. “I’ve always wanted to expand my store but never had the space,” Abbott says. “When a spot opened in Water Valley, I saw that as a great time to have a place on Main Street that had room for the store, a gallery, and a community classroom. It’s a dream come true to have all three offered under one roof. And it’s in a house, so it’s called the Living Room Gallery because the gallery is in an actual living room.”

She aims to continue selling the work of artisans from around the country, but to also expose her clients to new artists through a series of traveling shows that shift every few months. Abbott is already two exhibits in and excited for what’s next. In September, the Living Room, along with several other Mississippi galleries, will simultaneously display a show called the Do Good Fund that includes photography of the post-WWII South by Maude Schuyler Clay, William Christenberry, and Birney Imes, among others. “For the Living Room, I’ll be displaying portraits of children across different socioeconomic backgrounds and races across the South,” Abbott says. “I couldn’t be more excited to be a young gallery hanging such prestigious work.”


Abbott is also hard at work on exclusive product collaborations for the new venue, including a quilt collection from Mississippi textile artist Coulter Fussell, which debuts in November. If you’re in her neck of the woods this summer, stop by Thursday through Saturday. To learn more, visit