By Pamela Dey Vossler
Just as we color each day with our thoughts, relationships and activities—from the simple to the many layered, so do we create a life worth capturing, things we want to remember, occasions we want to honor. Lucky for us in Darien, there is Accent Picture Framing, a division of Geary Gallery …though “framing” only scratches the surface in describing all they do to preserve memories and decorate our lives.
With more than 1,000 frames to choose from and 38 years in business, owners Tom and Anne Geary certainly bring a deep expertise to conventional framing.
From a background in construction and a knowledge of hand tools, Tom got his start in the business in Orlando, FL where he and Anne moved to open a chain of 10,000-square-foot craft stores, precursors to the Michael’s stores that exist today.
“We opened eight of them in the four years that Anne and I lived there,” said Tom. “I was put in charge of the framing department in the eight stores. In 1984, Anne and I decided to move back to Connecticut to raise our family,” he continued. Accent Picture Framing was born.
From 4’ x 8’ photos and gigantic canvases to more traditionally-sized art, there is nothing they cannot frame, beautifully. Then there are the 3D projects and the shadow boxes they create to showcase everything from sports jerseys, christening gowns and weddings to collections and commemorative gifts.
“My flaw is I never say no to anyone,” said Tom, referring to a recent request to display eight golf balls, each signed by a different President. “Most businesses wouldn’t touch something like this. Special orders don’t upset us,” he continued.
In fact, the Gearys thrive on the complex, and the end result of every tricky project they tackle.
“Some framing projects are fairly simple and some are very challenging. The challenging projects are the ones that always interest me the most,” said Tom. “Regardless of the complexity of a framing project, whether it is a piece of art done by a child or a sports jersey, seeing the reaction on the customer’s face when they first see it framed is very rewarding,” he added.
“We’ve based our business plan on good service. We’ve never focused on just making a ‘quick buck,’” Tom continued. “We’ve always concentrated on doing whatever was necessary to give our customers a good experience, hopefully insuring that they would come back with repeat business. This philosophy seems to have worked over the last 38 years,” he said.
He and Anne thrive also on discovering and nurturing artists from Connecticut and beyond in their gallery.
“The Geary Gallery came about when we bought Windborne Gallery from Blaikie Hines in 1984. It was located across the street from the frame shop. In 1994, we bought the building (the frame shop was in) and moved the gallery so it would be in the same building as the frame shop,” explained Tom.
With 200 pieces of art on display, the Gearys have one of the largest galleries in Connecticut. They represent both Connecticut-based artists with national reputations and well-known artists from along the eastern seaboard with a lively schedule of art exhibits that rotate every month. Past exhibitions have included master pastelist Gene Sparkman, impressionist Ray Ellis, watercolorist A.N. Wyeth, pop artist Peter Max and marine artist John Stobart. Current Geary Gallery artists, including local artist Mary Morant, are featured at gearygallery.com.
The Gearys’ willingness to trust their instincts about the artists they handle — operating outside the sometimes stifling environment of the art establishment — provides opportunities for Fairfield County art lovers to join in on the satisfaction the Gearys feel of discovering an artist themselves.
Another hidden treasure of this business is the oil painting restoration work they do…yes, that family heirloom can be fixed! Started 25 years ago, Accent Restoration, a division of Geary Gallery, rests on the exacting expertise of their conservator.
“With more than 25 years in private practice, our conservator has extensive experience in art restoration of oil paintings, frames and sculptures. Throughout his career, he has worked with leading museums and auction houses, and his restorations can be found at galleries, museums, historical societies and private residences throughout Fairfield County,” said Tom.
Life as art, art as life: For more on the many possibilities, stop by Geary Gallery at 576 Boston Post Road just down from Trader Joe’s in Darien or call 203-655-6633.