Jim Massey spent decades collecting folk art: R.A. Miller’s metal cutouts, Clyde Jones’ chainsaw-hewn critters, Sam “The Dot Man” McMillan’s spotted furniture, Jimmy Lee Suddeth’s mud finger paintings and Howard Finster’s self-portraits.
For years, Massey showed his collection to visitors to his Moncure daylily farm during its annual summer sales weekends. He even converted an 1800s post office into a gallery for his collection of more than 400 pieces of folk, outsider and visionary art.
Once the farm closed to the public in 2011, Massey was sad that the public didn’t get to see these artworks anymore. And at 75, he worried what would happen to the collection after he died.
Now an effort is underway to raise money to build a museum for Massey’s collection in downtown Pittsboro. He is working with Lisa Piper and Dave Clark, owners of the Small B&B Cafe and fellow outsider art enthusiasts.
“It’s a lot better than my dying here and somebody coming out and having a yard sale,” said Massey, seated at the farm and gazing out at rows of red, orange, yellow and purple daylilies.
The proposed Small Museum of Folk Art will be located next to Piper and Clark’s bed-and-breakfast and restaurant, a couple blocks off Pittsboro’s traffic circle. A donated 8-foot-by-40-foot building was delivered Friday. They are holding fundraising events, including on Sept. 25, to help finish the project.