Since 1975, the Morales Art Galleries has provided a showcase for local artists and Outer Banks scenes at the Gallery Row art district in Nags Head. Prints of peaceful seascapes painted by the original owners, Jesse and Vivian Morales --- which at the time was their bread-and-butter --- are displayed on one wall in the gallery, showing stunningly true-to-life wild beach scenery on Pea Island and other beaches in oil and watercolors.
Jesse Morales was behind getting the town of Nags Head to designate Gallery Row, which is zoned village commercial,as an art district, when Morales’ shop was surrounded by many more art purveyors than today. Some popular art at the gallery includes depictions of seabirds and fish, weathered Outer Banks beach cottages, and fishing piers and pier houses. The 1,600-square-foot gallery also features sculpture and limited edition prints.
In recent years, the shop has diverted its focus to custom picture framing and is gradually phasing out much of the art for sale. A variety of frames in metal and wood are available to choose from, as well as multiple shapes and colors of mats. The work can be turned around anywhere from a couple of days up to two weeks, depending on the complexity of the project. In addition, Morales offers large format prints of original artwork, and can also print signs, posters and banners.