Art Concepts Custom Framing has been a part of the Estevan business community for decades, ensuring that people would have a place to get their photos, artwork, memorabilia and other items framed, and enhancing the appearance of those items.
But in recent years, the business has expanded to be a place that celebrates local artists, gives them a place to showcase their talents, and even hosts an occasional concert.
Art Concepts moved into its current home in the 1200-block of Fourth Street about three years ago. Theresa Fuhr continues to own the business, while Byron Fichter owns the building.
In addition to framing, there is a wealth of paintings, photography, pottery and jewelry.
“Artwork, we tend to sell, on a regular basis, every month … quite a bit of art,” Fuhr told the Mercury. “And we like to have a wide price range for a retirement gift, a good-bye gift or a birthday gift. You have to start from a lower price range up to your higher-priced originals and your higher-priced artists.”
Among the selections on the business’ walls is a new Michael Lonechild original for $6,000. Fuhr finds people will come in to view the artwork, which in turn leads to the sale of other art.
The business has become a popular place for artist talks and even live music. Several southeast Saskatchewan artists have had receptions there.
As for concerts, Hook and Nail, Chris Henderson and Poor Nameless Boy (the stage name for former Estevan resident Joel Henderson) have performed at the business. Saskatchewan country music singer JJ Voss was to play there March 21, but COVID-19 scuttled those plans.
Fichter has been speaking with him about when he could perform.
Fuhr believes the ability to have concerts gives them an advantage over other traditional framing shops.
“It makes people more excited about what we do, because people like events. They like to see new art. So we look at ourselves not as a gallery but a commercial gallery. We encourage more of the sales for the artist than just seeing the artists’ work.”
The concerts bring people in who maybe wouldn’t visit a frame shop or an art gallery. Fuhr looks forward to the shows, thanks to the acoustics within the building and the intimacy of the space.
“I love music and I love to encourage up and coming artists, established artists,” said Fuhr.
And it allows people to be exposed to art. The business has had exhibits from such talented southeast creators as Lonechild, Lauren Daae and Deanna Brown, as well as Fuhr and Fichter.
“I don’t care what kind of art you’re doing. If you have an idea, we welcome you to come to us, show us what you’re doing. Maybe it’s a form of art that we can encourage,” said Fuhr.
And when the artists come in, Arts Concepts will have art classes, giving local people a chance to learn from a professional.
“We are looking for something to do that would coincide with the opening of an art show. We’re not looking for the paint night sort of thing, we’re looking for more of a learning experience,” said Fuhr.
Fichter, who also owns Byron Fichter Fotography, has instructed a photography workshop, and plans on doing more.
Once the world returns to normal, Art Concepts is looking forward to having artist talks and art classes, and the live music as well. They’re booking into the fall, but they’re being cautious, because they don’t want to book an artist or performer, and then have to cancel.
Wine and yoga nights have also proven popular at Art Concepts in the front area, with sold out classes, and they had a book signing, since, as Fuhr says, literature is a form of art.
“People really like something a little different to do in town, and I think that’s what gives us a little niche,” said Fuhr.