This is a continuing installment of the MainStreets Annapolis Partnership featured business of the week.
Enter the West Annapolis Art Works & Fine Framing gallery and you’ll feel hundreds of hungry eyes staring at you. The walls are stacked with rows and columns of wild animal faces drawn in pastel, along with a wall full of three-dimensional dragons and other fauna and flora in a plethora of media. It’s an exhibit of artwork created by students from the Indian Creek Lower School under the tutelage of art teacher Inna Slutskaya. And it’s a delightful example of how kids’ art can shine when it’s presented as it should be — like a real work of art, matted and framed, not stuck up on the refrigerator with a magnet next to the shopping list.
Presenting art in its best light is the art form practiced by Su Anne Martinez (Lasher), owner of West Annapolis Art Works & Fine Framing. She’s been practicing her art for more than 30 years.”I’ve been doing picture framing since I was about 17 years old,” she says. “I was working part time when I first moved here in the mid-80s. I started running the store and stayed there 20 years, then started this business on my own about four years ago.” Last year, her business was voted the best frame shop in Annapolis by the readers of What’s Up? Magazine.
A good part of her business is framing diplomas, art that her loyal customers bring home from their travels around the world, and memorabilia like military medals. “Somebody’s whole life history is really interesting to do,” she notes. She can tackle such complex projects with a new computerized mat cutter that can cut just about any shape, and can even cut a name or a logo into the mat. “I don’t know how I did without it,” she says. “Before, I cut by hand, but now I can do any kind of mat cut.”
She’s also offering art classes in the studio space downstairs from the gallery. Currently, there’s a painting on silk class taught by Rebecca Snure, an Annapolis-based artist who learned the French serti method of painting on silk while staying at a gorgeous chateau nestled in the rolling hills of the Morvan area of Burgundy.
But her true love is working with artists. “I want them to know how to best display their art work so it looks its best. I like to help them out as much as I can,” she explains. “It works just as well with the students. When you see your work properly framed you see it in a whole different light.”
There’s a new show every month or so. A show by student artists from Wiley M. Bates Middle School will open with a reception on Friday, March 8, from 4 – 8 p.m.
“West Annapolis is a great location,” Su Anne says. An amble along the tree-shaded Annapolis Street will take you from a family-owned art supply store on one end to a family-owned deli on the other. In between, you’ll discover charming late19th and early 20th century homes that now house an intriguing variety of galleries and antique shops along with fashion boutiques, a children’s clothing store, a consignment store with clothing, furniture and accessories, several family-friendly restaurants, and whole afternoon’s worth of specialty shops of explore. And there’s plenty of parking.
“I do have fun,” Su Anne says. “I love coming to work in the morning. You never know who’s coming through the door with what kind of project.”Su Anne Martinez West Annapolis Art Works and Fine Framing 4 Annapolis Street Annapolis, MD 21401 www.westannapolisartworks.com