In Person

Each Month in Photo Happenings I post a conversation
with a personality in the photography world in Portland.

A conversation with Mel Townsend

When Art Media was sold to Blick Arts and moved to the Pearl District, Mel Townsend decided to stay in the neighborhood and start her own frame shop and gallery. Mel's Frame Shop celebrated her 1st anniversary in business October 2012.

Originally from Oregon, Melanie went to The University of Oregon and got a BFA in Painting and Drawing. After recieving a scholarship to study at Vermont Studio School, she moved to Washington DC, and began working as a custom frame designer at Foliography Gallery, "within 6 months I was promoted to gallery manager at the downtown store."

"I was also given the opportunity to buy art for the downtown location and was able to go to Art Expo in New York, that was great! We sold works on paper and limited edition prints, working with corporations and interior designers on art for the office"
. Living in DC she was drawn to African-American art and added that genre to the gallery. "It sold well, and was great to give the local artists there a venue and expand their market."

After 8 years in DC the "baby itch came, and we moved back to Portland, our home". Her husband now works as a third-generation barber in Milwaukie at Jim's Barber Styling, where he grew up.

"I wanted to work in the Portland gallery scene,"
and even remembered checking in at the Photographic Image Gallery. "There were no jobs. It was 2001, and 9/11 had really impacted the scene."

When she was offered a job at Art Media, she proposed that they add a framing department. "It took a few years for them to commit to the decision." During that time Mel and her husband plugged into the art scene through an art project called "Windows Alive", giving artist an opportunity to exhibit their work in the windows of vacant buildings downtown.

When Blick Arts bought Art Media and moved the store to the Pearl District, they wanted Mel to continue to work for them, but for personal reasons she decided not to. At Art Meida, many of her clients had been artists looking for affordable framing. Mel wanted to continue the same support for local artists and the neighborhood. "Artists have been a huge support for me, it is my turn to give back what I can" She still offers special pricing for artists and her loyal customers that followed her.

Mel's Frame Shop rotates art shows every month in the gallery. "The Black and White show during the holidays was a great success. I'm planning a variety of shows for 2013 and another photo show in July, a collaboration project with Blue Moon".

Other opportunities, I asked? "Sign up on my artist e-mail list, I send out information about artist calls coming up". In addition to the shows in the gallery, she needs "fresh bin art". An artist herself, Mel does her own work and personal commissions, but "with 2 boys, 7 & 5, it's is a constant balancing act".

Mel's Frame Shop            melsframeshop.com       

2013 Gallery Exhibit Schedule

Jan/Feb Patty Schmidt & Mike Hill
March OWCA Group Show
April PNCA Illustration Show
May Digital Photo & Art-LaValle Linn & Nance Paternoster
June Textures--Group show of encaustics, paintings & woodcuts.
July Blue Moon Photography Show (music)
August Art 8 - Group Show
Sept Mel Townsend & PM Shore
Oct Sidoine Caron
Nov/Dec Holiday Show--group

 

photos: LaValle Linn

Originally from Oregon, Melanie went to The University of Oregon and got a BFA in Painting and Drawing. After recieving a scholarship to study at Vermont Studio School., she moved to Washington DC, and began working as a custom frame designer at Foliography Gallery, "within 6 months I was promoted to gallery manager at the downtown store."

"I was also given the opportunity to buy art for the downtown location and was able to go to Art Expo in New York, that was great! We sold works on paper and limited edition prints, working with corporations and interior designers on art for the office". Living in DC she was drawn to African-American art and added that genre to the gallery. "It sold well, and was great to give the local artists there a venue and expand their market."

After 8 years in DC the "baby itch came, and we moved back to Portland, our home". Her husband now works as a third-generation barber in Milwaukie at Jim's Barber Styling, where he grew up.

"I wanted to work in the Portland gallery scene," and even remembered checking in at the Photographic Image Gallery. "There were no jobs. It was 2001, and 9/11 had really impacted the scene."

When she was offered a job at Art Media, she proposed that they add a framing department. "It took a few years for them to commit to the decision." During that time Mel and her husband plugged into the art scene through an art project called "Windows Alive", giving artist an opportunity to exhibit their work in the windows of vacant buildings downtown.

When Blick Arts bought Art Media and moved the store to the Pearl District, they wanted Mel to continue to work for them, but for personal reasons she decided not to. At Art Meida, many of her clients had been artists looking for affordable framing. Mel wanted to continue the same support for local artists and the neighborhood. "Artists have been a huge support for me, it is my turn to give back what I can" She still offers special pricing for artists and her loyal customers that followed her.

Mel's Frame Shop rotates art shows every month in the gallery. "The Black and White show during the holidays was a great success. I'm planning a variety of shows for 2013 and another photo show in July, a collaboration project with Blue Moon".

Other opportunities, I asked? "Sign up on my artist e-mail list, I send out information about artist calls coming up". In addition to the shows in the gallery, she needs "fresh bin art". An artist herself, Mel does her own work and personal commissions, but "with 2 boys, 7 & 5, it's is a constant balancing act".

 
 
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