HULON DUNN:

Museum store is more than a gift shop — it's a gallery

By COLBY DENTON
Posted 9/9/18

The Museum Center at Five Points has a new store manager, Hulon Dunn III, who is excited to work with visitors and the community in telling the story of the Ocoee region. However, this is not …

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HULON DUNN:

Museum store is more than a gift shop — it's a gallery

Posted

The Museum Center at Five Points has a new store manager, Hulon Dunn III, who is excited to work with visitors and the community in telling the story of the Ocoee region. However, this is not Dunn’s first rodeo, as he formerly worked in the same role several years prior.

The 37-year-old is a single father originally from Iuka, Mississippi. Serving as store manager, Dunn represents the museum’s 60 local artists from Cleveland and the surrounding area by displaying their works and selling them to museum visitors in his store.

“The 60 artists we have isn’t even counting all of the local authors who provide their books for us to sell,” Dunn laughed. “We’ve got a lot of talent in this area.”

He said he’s thankful to be able to further the museum’s mission through artistic individuals, while also promoting their local talents.

Aside from simply promoting the artists online, Dunn is also responsible for planning events which include them making live appearances and meeting the public such as the Christmas Open House and Artist Showcase.

As a local artist himself, Dunn knows the struggles many artists face. Unfortunately, while there are many talented people in the community, many of their works are simply hanging in their own homes instead of being showcased to the world.

“The museum store is not only a gift shop, but it’s also a gallery, which displays the talents of artists from your very own neighborhood,” Dunn said.

The store offers everything from paintings, jewelry and pottery to honey, books, clothing and everything in between. One thing the store does not have is metalwork, which Dunn hopes to include in the future.

Dunn’s family lived in middle Tennessee prior to Cleveland, as his grandfather ran a local newspaper in Hohenwald until Dunn’s parents took over the business after his grandfather’s death. In order to help his family run the business, Dunn worked nearly every job at the paper including working on the press, advertising and working as a news reporter and photographer as well as sports reporter.

Coming to Cleveland to attend Lee University in 2000, he eventually took a break from college in 2003 to work in retail management for Buckle and American Eagle in Knoxville. He said this gave him quite an abundance of experience in sales as well as customer service. After this, he moved to various cities including Chattanooga, Cleveland, Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina. After meeting the mother of his future daughter, Dunn moved to Cleveland in 2011 to finish Lee and graduated with a psychology degree in 2013 before starting a job working facilities at the Museum Center. When the previous museum store manager left to pursue a new job, Dunn took over the position. He served in this role for three years before resigning for a new position.

Recently, the position of store manager was made vacant, which Dunn discovered, reapplied and was rehired. A fan of change, he often switches up the layout of the store in order to give visitors a fresh look at different merchandise. He compares this to how despite looking like the same waters, the flowing cascades of a river are constantly changing; you never see the same water twice. Just like the river, the merchandise is always flowing and moving at the Museum Center.

“I get to show the diversity here. Some people think Cleveland is one specific way, thing or idea. At the museum, you get to see the various ways people see the world through the art they make,” Dunn explained.

When not working as the store manager, Dunn loves painting, pottery and most of all, spending time with his third grade daughter. He said they love being silly together, watching cartoons, cooking together or even playing in their family garden. Dunn is also an avid fan of “Star Wars” and “Star Trek,” which typically see fans liking only one of the two sci-fi franchises rather than both. He attributes this to his love of diversity.

“I feel like the more you see the world and see all the different aspects of it, the more you see that divisionist ideas aren’t true. Diversity is beautiful,” he said.

In the future, Dunn plans to continue promoting the Artists of the Month in order to better publicize the artistic capabilities of the community. He also looks forward to working on future museum events and programs. He can be contacted at the Museum Center at 423-339-5745. 

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