In 1983 when I met Michael, the owner of Donoho Gallery at 3421 Grand, we had dark brown hair. We were both skinny and anxious, he as the caregiver to a partner with a mysterious disease and me on the brink of self-employment. Mothers with children were no longer forced to cross the street since the topless bar on Grand Avenue had finally closed. With Judith McKinnon teaching bodywork in the next block, Margene altering dresses, Mary B Best serving up homemade ice cream, Corella at the helm of Ford’s Fine Furniture, Joan fixing and selling Hoovers at the Sew and Vac, and Shirley selling Merlot at Shirley’s Liquors, I knew I had touched down in the right spot at the right time with the right women. There was nothing as posh as Camino where you could watch mesquite grilling your salmon, and the neighbors were still clipping their own toenails. I had spent an educational internship at the Mitrebox in Noe Valley where I lived with Lisa. Without her there would be no Galleria Scola. Her mother died, leaving us enough money to buy Michael’s 5-year-old startup. Lisa’s bookkeeping skills and generous heart and soul kept me going.
The number of independently owned frame shops in the U.S. has halved and halved again since then. Fortunately, you have committed to keep us here. I began with degrees in art education and business and have seized every opportunity to learn. Our annual PPFA framing trade show classes (yes, even we have a trade show) taught me the Library of Congress’s method of hinging and handling paper for maximum preservation. Workshops in woodworking, welding, paper making, the history of picture frames and restoration studies have been, over time, added to my toolbox. The opportunity for me to write and teach my fellow framers broadens the base of information and sheds light on the origin of your artwork and the techniques used to create it. I look forward to the bounty of shape and color that you carry through our front door. Everything from the sepia image of your great grandparents from Nebraska, in high-neck Victorian frocks, sitting formally in front of a fringed drape to photos of newborn babies in bright colors. Your Eagle Scout badges, watercolors depicting the Duomo, Kuba cloth, and shots of you atop a camel in the Sahara. Your tales of inner exploration and your travels throughout the world are an honor and joy to share. This passionate alliance with you is more than fulfilling. It is a blessing.