Sausalito Picture Framing's team of meticulous artisans harnesses more than 20 years of experience when customizing borders to flatter and conserve artwork of all sizes and types. The quaint storefront's walls showcase multitudinous molding samples, waiting patiently to grace the edges of paintings, tapestries, and blue ribbons from hot-dog-eating contests. A library of image-preserving mounting options includes acid-free matting, archival hinging tape, and UV-shunning glass, helping keep keepsakes' colors vibrant for years to come. The shop also hosts a 44-inch Epson 9800 Ultrachrome K3 inks printer, capable of printing family portraits in such high quality that parents often realize their twins aren't identical at all.
Art Works Downtown's story begins about seven years before its founding. Back in the early '90s?when local businesses started closing down en masse?Phyllis Thelen got an idea. Rather than let Fourth Street go to shambles, the cultural-affairs advocate filled empty store windows with artwork to make them more attractive to passersby and bored security-camera monitors. That's when she discovered the building that would become Art Works Downtown, located on Fourth Street. Built in 1878, it was once known as Gordon's Opera House. Phyllis just knew this rundown yet beautiful building would make the perfect art center. So she and four peers founded the Art Works Downtown nonprofit organization and set to work remaking the 40,000-square-foot space into a community jewel.
They started by remodeling 13 rooms, turning them into studios for local artists to rent, and eventually opening a storefront gallery to showcase their work. Nowadays, Art Works Downtown strives to keep the heart of the area's art scene beating. The center houses 35 art studios for rent, three galleries, a caf?, a jewelers guild, a frame shop, a ceramic center, other arts organization, and 17 affordable apartments that help professional artists keep working. Aspiring artists of all ages, meanwhile, can attend classes, and art lovers can find inspiration by visiting constantly changing exhibits in four galleries.
A work of art relies on many components to maintain its integrity. Aside from the canvas and the struggle the artist went through to get Billy to stop hogging all the blue paint, the piece will require a frame to be respected as a finished product. At Ringseis Designs, the framing crew works with custom mouldings and archival techniques to protect and enhance artwork, analyzing each piece before selecting matting and frame combinations that draw attention to intended focal points. They also protect 3-D objects, protecting keepsakes in shadowboxes and preserving sports jerseys in textile cases.
Paul Mahder Gallery showcases contemporary works of art and every two months, presents new exhibits created by painters, sculptors, and photographers from around the globe. Opened in conjunction with the gallery in 2007, Paul Mahder Framing extends the shop's services into the realm of preservation, helping customers artfully safeguard keepsakes without having to freeze them in a mixture of finger-paint and carbonite. Head designer Richard Plagmann and expert framer Jonathan W. Wind join forces to encase a wide range of items, from 3-D objects and family portraits to oversized mementos. They also offer complementary onsite consultations, and every project is completed in house.
It’s not everyone who can flip through comics and see a unique art form, but Leef Smith, the owner of Mission: Comics & Art, makes that connection. Leef grew up on a steady diet of Star Wars, X-Men, and Crisis on Infinite Earths—and when the dotcom bust ended his career in the internet industry, it was to superheroes he returned. He founded his comic store and art gallery, where a collection of just-released comic books and displayed artwork form a hub of creativity. Keeping to his communal missive, Leef rents out graphic novels—the lending library currently consists of roughly 120 books—and holds monthly comic book club meet-ups.
Stylists at Red Union Salon wield products from lines such as Phyto, Logics for Matrix, Redken, and Goldwell to add layers of color or imbue strands with rich shine. Like the world’s slowest carousel, colorful displays of local art rotate every season, and houseplants and hardwood floors imbue the space with an apartment-like feel. Besides trimming tresses, hair helpers can also sweep strands into updos for weddings and or long, looped braids for hands-free lasso contests.