I think it is too personal and quite defensive for a cover letter / letter of intent. Make a story and talk about the passion more than finding excuses for your CV. Also stop involving the audience, this is not the type of text where you want anyone to make an effort. Everyone is tired by default :D
CVs are crap :) no one cares.
What would have helped is a link to the job posting.
Here is my take:
Hello, I am (__).
Since North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains contain a rich history of arts and crafts, I think there is no better way to become more involved with the long standing community of [X] other than to apply for your position.
[rule zero: no questions, since any question can beget No]
I have X years spent in art school, X years running my own leather crafting business, and, too many I’d say, years of retail, all adding up to have me feeling up to the challenge. Poring over the list of qualifications I strongly believe I am able to tick every box without doubt.
[push for what makes you stand out]
I know my experience is other than that of working specifically in galleries, but I have earned through the years a lot of special insight with the challenges a gallery such as [name] faces in this economy, and a unique understanding of how to provide art patrons with a satisfying experience, from inquiry to sale.
[ease in your lacking aspect]
My recent years working on a testing and assembly line in a factory actually help me be even more up to the challenge of a position in gallery [X]. Take the fact you are looking for a detail oriented person who works well under pressure. I have sat and assembled [hundreds?] of objects with no less than four people watching my every move, peppering me with questions, all while holding full knowledge that avoiding a regulatory fine rests on my shoulders. One can’t get neither more detail oriented, nor more pressure resistant that that. However, with all this, my performance was so good that my employer gave me a bonus.
[My life has included good decisions and bad ones. — who cares?]
As of now, the roller coaster of factory work, which inevitably includes overtime and weekends, is taking me too far away from my heart which rests in the art world.
Speaking of roller coasters, looking at my resume you’ll probably notice there is a lot of variation in there which I assure you it is because I deeply enjoy new challenges. Everywhere I have lived and worked I have had a wonderful time learning and growing.
Right now I am actively looking at finding a job within the arts and crafts world so that I can be better connected to it and make full use of my passion. Thank you for your consideration and hopefully we’ll get a chance to talk soon, yours sincerely
It would be even better if you can dig up some personal story from your days of running your own business, something which connects with the job you apply for :)
Hope this helps BHD, good luck and happy holidays,