Jenn Whyman likes to think of the artwork she sells as “pottery with a purpose.”
In late July, she opened Coast Gallery and Numismatics, a small gallery located off U.S. Highway 101 in Gearhart that features a mix between sculptures, paintings and an extensive stock of coins paired with appraisal services.
On the surface, it resembles many other North Coast galleries, with pieces featuring coastal landmarks like Haystack Rock and Hug Point. But Whyman’s inspiration to open the gallery drew from a slightly different well.
Instead of selling for a profit, she envisioned a model where proceeds from each sale — after bills were paid and artists given their cut — would go to support different charities.
To do so, she brought together the passions of her husband, Dan Whyman, who is an avid coin collector and appraiser, and her brother-in-law, Jeff Whyman, a sculptor and painter whose North Coast roots extend back to his days operating an art gallery in Cannon Beach in the 1990s.
“I wanted to support both of their interests, as well as open a gallery that would focus on community outreach,” she said. “I’m a Christian, and I love the mission of giving back. The passion comes out of my faith.”
Whyman moved to Gearhart from St. Louis, Missouri, with her son and husband two years ago after visiting the area for 25 years.
“Where Lewis and Clark started their expedition is where we moved from and where Lewis and Clark finished is where we moved to,” she said. “Which we didn’t mean to do, but is kind of interesting.”
She fell in love with the environment, the kindness of the people and how “one supports one another.”
Eventually, Whyman hopes the gallery will be able to designate a charity or cause a month to be the recipients of the proceeds. This summer, her first recipient will be the Providence Seaside Hospital Foundation’s campaign to expand emergency room operations. The foundation is in the swing of a $1.5 million fundraising campaign that will help redesign the emergency department to separate the triage area from reception, add more private rooms and build another trauma bay for emergency medical calls.
She is close to the project on multiple fronts, as her husband sits on the board of the hospital foundation, and overall has supported the institution’s mission.
“With my target to open my gallery in the summer and Providence doing much of their fundraising in the summer, it seemed to make sense,” Whyman said.
After the summer, Whyman hopes to set her sights on helping local food banks.
“I love how people support and encourage one another for good here,” she said. “That’s what this is all about.”