Artisans market operates with a mission: To promote the arts in downtown Port Huron

Georgina Witt opened Gina's Gallery to promote local art.
The Witt surname carries some weight around these parts.

The family has made their stamp on St. Clair County in a number of ways. The Witts started Witco Inc. nearly five decades ago. Located outside of Yale, Witco is a precision CNC machining company that makes parts for aircraft and spacecraft.

The Witts also own several buildings in downtown Port Huron, with 10 retail storefronts and 49 loft-style residential units in their portfolio.

It’s in one of those storefronts that Georgina Witt, 79, is accomplishing one of her goals, opening the artisans market Gina’s Gallery earlier this year.

"It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do," Georgina says.

"We’ve developed some of the buildings downtown so I conned my husband and son into letting me have the building for free so I can promote the arts downtown."

Promoting the arts is a big deal to Georgina. There are currently 18 artisan vendors at Gina’s Gallery and not one of them pays a commission or rent. All Georgina asks is that they put three or four hours of work into the shop per week.

The artisans’ products vary greatly but include an assortment of handcrafted items, including driftwood carvings, lake Georgina Witt makes hats to sell in her Port Huron artisan's market glasswork, paintings, and stained glass.

And Georgina sells her own pieces as well. Georgina makes and sells her own line of hats, ideal for going to church or other formal occasions, or even the Kentucky Derby, she says.

All net proceeds from the hat sales are donated to the American Cancer Society.

"I wanted a place for artists to display their work without worrying about the financial part," Georgina says.

"Without the arts, all you have is commercialism."

Gina’s Gallery is located at 411 Grand River Ave. in downtown Port Huron.

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