Janet Francoeur is a painter, a tile maker, a wanna be writer, an ok photographer, a gardener, she has wanderlust and not enough time to do everything she wants to do! Jan, as she likes to be called, has been a professional artist her entire adult life.
Jan is the resident artist at Carolina Creations in Downtown New Bern, NC. She and her husband Michael founded Carolina Creations in 1989. They sold the gallery in 2017 to Virginia Spencer but the gallery continues to sell their paintings and pottery.
Born and raised in southern Michigan, Jan received a BA in drawing and printmaking from Siena Heights University, Adrian, Michigan. While in Michigan Janet concentrated on Architectural renderings in ink.
She became intrigued with railroads and depots after a train trip to Mexico, and went on to do a series of railroad depots for the Michigan Historical Society. The couple left Michigan in 1983 for an adventure in Aspen, Colorado, where she did a series of drawings of Colorado railroads, several of which are in the Western History Collection of the Denver Public Library.
After 6 years in Aspen water won out and they started on a journey that took them from San Diego, Galveston Texas, to the Florida Keys. While there they told someone what they were looking for in a new home. “We want a place that is on its way but hasn’t gotten there yet.” “Try New Bern” was the answer. So they did. Not long before leaving Aspen she started adding color to her ink drawings.
They arrived in New Bern and were welcomed by the community. Janet started doing drawings of the churches, waterfront and homes in the historic district.
Again experimenting with adding watercolor to her ink drawings she soon started working in watercolor more and more. They purchased and renovated a home in the historic district and wanting to put their stamp on it Jan began to make tiles, which led to developing an entire line of functional and decorative pottery called “Celebration Pottery.”
As the years went on and the business grew they purchased and renovated the building the gallery is currently in at 317 Pollock Street.
As business grew, so did Janet’s use of different mediums. Ink, watercolor, clay, now she also works in acrylics and oils.
Janet’s prints of New Bern scenes can be seen in many offices in the area, and is a favorite gift and souvenir of the area. Her Celebration Pottery pieces make wonderful gifts for weddings, graduations and anniversaries, and she regularly customizes them by adding names and dates or she can design a piece just for you.
During a recent trip to Florida she was inspired to create a new addition to her Celebration Pottery Line called her Nature Series.
Jan is the recipient of the NC Emerging Artists Grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, as well as the Entrepreneur of the Year award from the New Bern Chamber of Commerce, First Annual Bernie Award for Outstanding artist from the Craven County Arts Council, Downtown Council Member of the Year from the Chamber of Commerce , Main Street Champion of the Year from the NC Main Street Program and the NC Department of Commerce Office of Urban Development. While owner of Carolina Creations the gallery was chosen as one of the top 25 American Craft Galleries in the US and repeatedly won the Readers Choice Awards for Best Place to Buy Art and Best Place to Buy Gifts from the New Bern Sun Journal. Through the years she has been active in the redevelopment of our downtown, in the New Bern Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Business Council, the MSD board and other groups.