Every February, we thank our customers by celebrating the custom framing aspect of our gallery with the 25% off Custom Framing Sale. This year will be no different. However, this will be the last year we celebrate it at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture at 14 Western Ave. As many of you know, things are changing here at Maine Art, and prints and framing will undergo some of the biggest changes.
Twenty-six years ago, John Spain purchased Kennedy Studios. It was a small print and framing shop across the street from where Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture is now, in what the locals lovingly call the Mole Hole Building. Prints and custom picture framing was what we did. I took years to slowly grow the original works side of our business, but grow it did. Soon we needed a bigger space.
When Spain moved the business to the present location across the street at 14 Western Ave, the frame shop went with him. We kept select prints from artists for whom we also carry their original works, but our business turned mainly to paintings. Presently, the frame shop is behind the scenes, but still a service we happily provide for not only our clients but many of our artists. Most of the original works hanging in the gallery are not framed. By having the frame shop at hand, we are able to assist our clients to find framing that not only enhances the piece but fits their personal style and the style of the room it will soon call home.
As the years passed and we continued to grow, Spain was happy to pass the “framing” torch on to our then gallery manager, Natalie Lane. For the last eleven years, she has been in charge of our framing department. We have continued to expand that part of the business, however, both in staff and supplies. We have a growing selection of frames, in addition to all the tools needed to create quality work. A year ago one of our staff, Patrick Harrison, was trained and soon became Natalie’s extra set of hands. But still, there are times when framing felt like a full-time job. Then this past fall, Natalie became our gallery director and she too has expanded her workload. We needed to make some changes. What is a growing gallery to do when they just keep growing!
With quite a bit of deliberation and the addition of new gallery spaces for the Maine Art family, we have decided to open a gallery space that will solely be the home for all of our framing and prints. Maine Art Prints and Framing. Phew! Now what?
This new space will be the cornerstone of the Maine Art Hill galleries. The small original house which occupied the property since the mid-70s is being moved to the back of the lot and redesigned to meet our growing print and framing needs. (Unit 6, the tan one, second from the right.) We have hired a brand new full-time frame shop manager, Louann McDonald, who will not only design and frame, but discover, order, and stock our new and expanded print selection. We will continue to carry your favorite prints from artists like Hoyt and Witbeck. Yet, we are looking forward to expanding the selection of their prints, as well as prints from new and present artists. Like all the galleries at Maine Art Hill, we are hoping to open by the first of May.
“We are excited that we will be able to offer not only a wider variety of custom frames but also an extensive new selection of high-quality prints,” said owner John Spain. “Prints and framing are where this business began. I can’t imagine a better way to honor those beginnings than to go back to them, and make them better than ever.”
Our January hours are Thursday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. February will bring our Annual 25% off Custom Framing Sale, and we will be open more hours to serve you better. Louann begins work February first, just in time for our annual February framing sale. Please check the website for current hours and stop in to introduce yourself and say hello.