HIGH FIVE: Washington gallery celebrates anniversary with new exhibitPublished 6:43pm Thursday, July 24, 2014
A five-year anniversary, a new exhibit and Art Walk combine tonight in celebration of downtown Washington’s Lone Leaf Gallery and Custom Framing.
From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Neil and Meredith Loughlin, owners of Lone Leaf, will host the opening reception for an exhibit by former Washington resident Alexandra Bloch. Bloch’s oil paintings have garnered awards in a variety of shows, but this is the first time the still lifes have been featured in one show, according to Neil Loughlin.
The Loughlins met Bloch when they first opened their shop on the corner of West Main and Market streets in 2009. They’ve since had a hand in Bloch’s Washington exhibits, as part of their mission to support local artists as well as offer a show venue for those they’ve connected with outside the area.
For the Loughlins, five years of being open for business represents a hurdle: their small business has beaten the odds of an unstable economy and has become a part of the fabric of downtown Washington. Other stores have come and gone over that time, but Lone Leaf’s services represent a unique blend of practicality — the practical framing side of the business props up the retail side. At Lone Leaf, store stock is not mass-produced. It’s made by people the Loughlins know.
Loughlin refers to Lone Leaf’s framing work as “finishing people’s projects,” a role he and his wife take pride in. While the majority of their business comes from framing diplomas, maps and river-themed artwork, that’s not all they frame.
“You never know what people are going to bring in, but you see a lot of interesting stuff,” Loughlin said. “We’ve framed a lot of priceless, personal artifacts.”
A circa 1700s key that opened the door of someone’s ancestors’ home; a sheet of uncut Confederate Civil War bonds — the Loughlins put the finishing touches on other people’s treasures. As a result, they’ve gotten to know many people in the community and their clientele continues to expand, many of whom will be on hand tonight at Art Walk, a self-guided stroll through downtown’s galleries, most of which will be hosting receptions for the monthly event.
But tonight’s Art Walk is special for Loughlins: it represents firm establishment in the downtown business and arts community.
“In no way are we like Russell’s or Stewart’s, but it does feel good to be here this long,” Loughlin said. “One year felt good. But five years is a nice milestone to hit.”