Like many small children, Phillip Brown dreamed of working at a pharmacy. However, this Jacksonville Floridian had another idea. After moving from Louisiana, where he earned his pharmacy degree from Northeast Louisiana University (now the University of Louisiana Monroe), he opened a museum, “even though (he) wasn’t sure what a museum is.”

The 62-year old started by purchasing and renovating an old two-storey house, half a block from where his new pharmacy on Eighth Street would be years later. He filled the home with hundreds of artworks he had collected over the years. He owns about 1,500 pieces of art total signed or appeared to have been made by Paul Gauguin, Pierre Renoir, Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Winslow Homer, among others. With 300-400 exhibited at any one time, every room of the home is covered in art. Admittedly, Brown is uncertain which works are real, and which are reproduction oil paintings. He has yet to authenticate the majority of artworks in his collection. That factor doesn’t phase him, as pieces were chosen based not on how they affect him, but how they would affect traffic to his website and museum.

The museum does not get many visitors, which could be attributed to the fact that people considered the area unsafe, or that off-street parking is nonexistent. Still, the pharmacist enjoys many hits to the website, which may validate his devotion to “spirit expressionism”. Many of the artworks, whether or not they are reproduction oil paintings or no, carry a religious theme. Regardless, the museum opens its doors for all to enjoy.

Though Brown doesn’t consider himself an art dealer, pieces from his collection are sold through the museum, but also in his pharmacy. He’s a museum director, whether he is wandering the halls of his museum, or behind the counter at the pharmacy. And with the sale of one of his notable pieces, perhaps a Gauguin painting, he may be able to move his operation to downtown Jacksonville.

So aspiring collectors and enthusiasts should take note that the barrier between dreaming of something and doing it can be crystallized to one thing: the will to do it. A pharmacist decided to open a museum, and after 20 short years of acquiring real and possible reproduction oil paintings and other artworks, it happened. So if having your own gallery is your dream, start looking through our high-quality reproduction paintings and get started, or add to your existing collection. Whether for the public at a downtown exhibition or a private viewing space in your home, onlookers won’t likely see the difference between the real Gauguin painting and the heirloom Gauguin painting.