The Art Corner - After the Fire and Grand Reopening
This is the new shop that The Art Corner has moved into until it is finally decided what to do with the old premises.
Wendy, behind the counter serving a regular customer in the new store. A true creative is our Wendy, one of her own paintings sits in the top right hand corner of the photo below.
Charles "Chuck" Lang working next to Bob on a painting of his own. Behind them are a lot of the antique frames that were saved from the nearly untouched basement of the original store.
My paint box, plus panda...
Bob near the main window of the store, showing the corner where I set up my paintbox. The little print rack and some of the prints it contained, were our gift to the store for the reopening.
I asked Wendy if she needed some paintings for the new blank walls and received a heartfelt YES. So Bob and I brought along some of our daily paintings for consignment. Chuck's paintings, including two of his unique banana ones, are in the top row; mine are in the middle; and four of Bob's landscapes are in the middle of the bottom row, flanked by two of Wendy's cats.
The back wall of the new shop displayed photos of the fire, ones of better times of the staff, and newspaper articles about the fire... Chuck wanted to go and rub some of the ash behind each piece so people would look closely and say "wow, you can almost smell it!"
And while Wendy was showing visitors around the new store, Chuck gave others the '5 cent tour' of the burnt out old Art Corner building around the corner.
Right in front of the front entrance where the fish tank used to stand. I worried about that poor porcelain horse on the floor. All of his mates, small and large, were consumed, but he doesn't look too bad there. The pumpkin painting is one of Chuck's, and we joked that it had assumed a lot of appropriate character with its smoke and ash damage. It's still a sad loss though.
Looking to the right of the front door into the stock frames area and gallery exhibition wall. Sad to say the photo exhibit was lost. And you can still see the small frames I used to gleefully paw through during our visits.
A better view of the porcelain horsie...
As you stand in the door and face diagonally a bit to the left, this where the business bit took place. The lump in the centre is...was the laptop computer. All of the thin layers beneath the bench behind it are countless pieces of matting board. On the wall to the left, you can just make out the light areas where the molding corners were stacked hanging on the wall. Another one of Chuck's paintings rests against the front of the table. A box of his small works that used to adorn the front table was lost as well.
Facing from the front counter thru to the back of the shop where finishing epuipment once stood and all of the customers work for framing was filed. 10% was lost completely - some totally irreplacable; 40% had some varying damage from smoke or water, or both; and 50% were miraculously undamaged. Any loss is shocking, and my heart goes out to the people who lost a treasure - and give them thanks for their kind understanding.
This is one of Wendy's signature paintings that didn't quite make it. And behind that, I think, another one of Chuck's. There was also a really long, framed old photograph of the Great Salem Fire of June 25, 1914 in the old store. I spotted it in the backroom of the new shop: one end of the frame was pure charcoal, while the other end looked really good; the glass was smoke hazed and cracked, but the photo underneath didn't look too bad at first glance. I kidded Wendy that it now looked authentic, but glad that it survived.
Wendy and Chuck, and the people who work with them have been through a terrible experience and have fought upwards against the stream current to get their business back into shape. It has been a herioc effort, with the local businesses and regular customers pitching in to help.