Ann's Diamond Center | Raleigh Photographer - Jebb Graff

Ann’s Diamond Center | Fuquay-Varina, NC

This building is impossible to miss while driving down Main St. in downtown, Fuquay-Varina. It’s a piece of history and way-finding gold. I’m always saying “Stick Boy is right past Ann’s Diamond Center if you’re going towards Raleigh”, or “my barber is right across the street from Ann’s”.

It’s a home to many important aspects of my personal life as well. I’ll spare you the whole story for now. The highlight reel looks something like this.

  • The awning to the very left in the one-story part is home to the Fuquay-Varina Downtown Revitalization Association. That long, municipal sounding name gives no insight to the reality that inside that office works some of the most caring, devoted people I’ve ever met. And their names are shorter too. Bonus. That’s one of the first places I visited when I moved here, looking to plug-in to the community. They didn’t sluff me off. They sat and talked, and were excited to share. I received no locals-only vibe, and to this day they are a client of mine, as well as a place I volunteer from time to time.
  • You can’t see it from this angle, but upstairs in the back is where my first office/studio was here. That served as a kind of stamp on a fresh start for my photography and design business. I didn’t know it, but the tenant in the office to the far left upstairs was going to have a profound impact on my life.
  • A guy moved into that space shortly after I moved into mine. All I knew at the time was that he was a pastor at a nearby church and a HR guy for a big energy company. We ate a lot of lunches together. Had a lot of conversations. He counseled me through a lot of my personal struggles. My wife and I started attending and volunteering at his church. Our church merged with another to form Adventure Christian Church. I accepted a position there as Creative Arts & Executive Director. I spend a lot of time in that office. My life is better because of the people I spend it with. Shameless plug, but if you’re looking for an authentic group of people to be in community with, give our church a try.
  • Personal life was good. Business was good, but not what I wanted it to be. I told the best land-lady in the world I needed to move my business back home. I’ve spent nearly this whole year, re-visioning and reconciling the fact that while I don’t like the word or title, I’m an artist. I’ve been trying to find out if maybe I’m just a fraud. Trying to figure out if business and art can truly co-exist. Trying to figure out if I listen to the industry or the customer. Trying to see if I had the guts to make the work I want to make.

I do. Which is why I spent a whole lot of digital space telling you that I’ll be moving my studio back downtown to the space with the light on upstairs over Ann’s Diamond Center. See you soon, F-V.

-JG

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