Gordy Fine Art and Framing mixes museum and business universe

Upon entering Gordy Fine Art and Framing on East Main Street, its character shines through hundreds of holes in its walls left by years of hanging artwork by local and regional artists.

Six years after purchasing Gordy Fine Art and Framing, Barbara and Carl Schafer made the company a household name in local art in Muncie through their community involvement and knowledge of art.

The Schafers first met while working at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum in 1989. As a major in history and education at Hanover College, Barbara Schafer fell in love with the museum world after completing a internship at the Kentucky Science Center in Louisville, Kentucky. She then received her Masters in Historical Administration from Eastern Illinois University in 1991 and worked as the Curator of the Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites Collections in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Like his wife, Carl Schafer majored in history at Hanover College and said his interest in art history flourished while working at the History of Science Museum in Oxford, England, in as a graduate student. Prior to becoming Associate Director of the David Owsley Museum of Art at Ball State in 2006, he worked at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and received his MA in Art History from Syracuse University in 1996.

“[Working in England] was an experience that made me realize that objects travel through time and tell you a very different story than history books, ”said Carl Schafer. “The history books are all interpreted, and the objects tell you the real direct connection.”

Jeffrey Brackett’s collection, “Forgetting the Ox: Drawings by Jeffrey Brackett,” will be on display at Gordy Fine Art and Framing until October 2.

With a common love for art and history and years of museum experience under their belt, the Schafers took the leap and purchased Gordy Fine Art and Framing from their close friend and occasional business partner, Brian Gordy. , in 2015.

Gordy Fine Art and Framing provides its clients with expert design and craftsmanship in fine art framing and family estate preservation using Muncie’s largest selection of frame moldings. Museums, art collectors, and businesses that rely on Gordy Fine Art and Framing include the Richmond Art Museum in Richmond, Indiana, the Buck Hill Art Association, and Meridian Health Services.

Gordy Fine Art and Framing’s main store on September 9, 2021. The gallery on the wall currently features the works of Jeffrey Brackett, and the tabletop displays feature pottery, jewelry, and fine art prints made by local artists. Samantha Lyon, DN

When the Schafers bought the business in 2015, Carl Schafer said it was difficult for him and his wife to understand the difference between the private business world and the museum world because they operate at different paces. According to Barbara Schafer, running a small family business makes it easier to meet customer needs.

“When we were working in museums, we had to frame objects to display them, so we have a sensitivity to the environment that surrounds a room like the lighting, the color of the walls or the windows nearby,” said Barbara Schafer. . “We understand what plays in a frame. We can work with clients when they bring in photos or visit people’s homes and work with them to help them create a framing solution for what they want. [to make] their pieces look really good.

Because of their common knowledge of museum culture, the Schafers can reproduce frames of precise antique styles corresponding to the period of art, a service commonly requested by museums and art collectors like the Bob Ross Experience at Minnetrista.

Gordy Fine Art and Framing receives clients from all walks of life, and the Schafers have said they strive to provide every client who walks through the door with the same amount of professional care as any other.

Jeff Miller, owner of Corner Store Vintage in Redkey, Indiana, and customer of Gordy Fine Art and Framing, said Carl and Barbara Schafer take pride in their work and enjoyed working with the two of them.

“They are very personal and friendly but totally professional,” Miller said. “They do everything they can to promote the community and local artists. I am blessed to know them.

Jeff Miller (right) and Carl Schafer (left) measure a mid-century piece of fabric at Gordy Fine Art and Framing on September 9, 2021. Miller uses their custom framing service for many pieces on display and for sale in his company, Corner Store Vintage, located in Redkey, Indiana. Samantha Lyon, DN

One of the services that Gordy Fine Art and Framing offers to clients is to help them cherish family heirlooms and essentially, their family history. Carl Schafer said this service was not planned when they bought the business because he and his wife believed they would mainly specialize in museum clients and people they had worked with in the past. . However, it has become one of his favorite aspects of the business.

“What we have discovered is that with our skills, we can save [damaged pieces] and bring them back to life, ”said Carl Schafer,“[but] sometimes we can not return it to its original state, [and] often we don’t really want to do it.

“You want to know it’s an old thing, [but] you don’t want it to be new, so people are counting on us to bring back their treasures, ”he said. “And when [we] to do, [customers] become emotional. When we show them what we have done, it truly touches them and they know they have done their job right by preserving their own family history.

Carl Schafer said he recalls one instance where a customer came to Gordy for a repair on a 1920s photo frame that displayed a photo of a beloved relative.

“There was a time in photography where you had these oval frames, and the photography itself would have been pushed three-dimensionally,” said Carl Schafer. “Then there was a piece of curved glass which [went] on it, and it was all meant to make the person feel like they were three-dimensional and bring them to life. We were able to make an oval frame in the way that [it] would have been done [during that time] and replace the curved glass as it is still an available product.

Throughout the year, Carl and Barbara Schafer invite local and regional artists to exhibit their work in their gallery in order to showcase their talents to the community and possibly to interested buyers. On the first Thursday of each month, Gordy Fine Art and Framing hosts a gathering of artists to talk about their works, techniques and inspirations.

Jeffrey Brackett, associate professor of religious studies at Ball State, has created a collection of ink drawings with abstract images made up of “purposefully composed and adventurously meandering” lines. His collection, “Forgetting the Ox: Drawings by Jeffrey Brackett”, will be on display at the Gordy Fine Art and Framing gallery until October 2.

Jeffrey Brackett stands with two pieces from his collection, “Forgetting the Ox: Drawings by Jeffrey Brackett,” on September 9, 2021. The freelance artist and associate professor of religious studies at Ball State said he was inspired by of Buddhism for his works of art, and the title of his show is said to relate to the Buddhist metaphor of cattle ranching. Samantha Lyon, DN

Before agreeing to exhibit his work to Gordy, Brackett said that Carl Schafer came to his home and helped him set up his works to be showcased from his garage.

“[Carl] came, we put on our masks, he went through all my work [and] made a lot of good comments, ”Brackett said. “He loved what he saw – they are so kind, so patient and very generous. And that’s not wrong, they are totally genuine.

In addition to supporting local and regional artists in the community, Carl Schafer was the founding president of the Muncie Arts and Cultural Council, which promotes the activities of arts organizations in Muncie. Now he currently sits on the Mayor’s Arts Awards Committee and the Board of Directors of the Muncie Downtown Development Partnership, while Barbara Schafer is a member of the Board of Directors of the Cornerstone Center for the Arts.

“Coming from the world of museums, we have always understood [that] you have to be part of the community, ”said Barbara Schafer. “You can’t just hide in a corner and do your thing, especially for local businesses. We live in the community, we raise our children in the community, we own a house in the community – everything we do is community, [and] we want to help our community succeed.

Contact Samantha Lyon with comments at [email protected]



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