CV Art and Frame Celebrates Four Decades of Serving the Zionsville Art Community
Photographer / Brian Brosmer
This year, CV Art and Frame is celebrating 40 years of being a single resource for all styles of art and picture framing. After what initially started as a frame shop, it’s now morphed into a reputable and renowned fine art gallery.
“I hope that the community sees us as an organization they can be truly proud of,” says Barbara Jennings, executive director of CV Art and Frame. “Even though we started quite small as a little frame shop selling some prints, we’ve evolved into showing some of the world’s best-known artists. I get a lot of positive feedback from the community and especially with the more recent shows with some very well-known and renowned artists.”
The Zionsville-based art gallery initially opened as a frame shop in 1979 under the name Corner Vise Gallery and Frame Shop. Jennings and her parents, Percival and Carol Chuck, obtained the shop seven years later. She cites her desire to join the gallery because of her love for the art business.
“I have a hands-on creative side of me that I thought would be a good fit,” Jennings says. “When I purchased and got involved with the business, it was mainly a frame shop with artwork. So that’s sort of how I got involved with it.”
Together, with the help of her parents, they transitioned it from a tiny frame shop into an art gallery representing some of the nation’s most popular artists of the era, including Terry Redlin and Mary Bertrand. It has recently hosted several larger shows, including artwork from Peter Max, Salvador Dali and renowned child prodigy, Alexandra Nechita.
Over the years, combining conservation techniques and precision workmanship, Jennings built a group of steadfast and loyal clientele — even ones who are states away. With her help, the gallery gained a new level of distinction as a custom picture framing business set at surprisingly affordable prices.
In 1997, Jennings decided to expand and opened a few mall galleries in Indianapolis while representing in-demand artist, Thomas Kinkade. As this new endeavor required more of Jenning’s expertise and attention, Corner Vise was taken over by Kim Smith, who had been with the gallery for 10 years. Five years later, when economic challenges pursued, Jennings closed her mall galleries and returned to her role to Corner Vise.
The CV Art and Frame that the Zionsville and surrounding communities know today became established when many galleries dwindled during the economic downturn in the early 2000s. Jennings recognized that this downturn left a need for original art and determined it was the right time to rebrand and bring in a fresh new name — CV Art and Frame.
“It’s a very proud time for me because even though I didn’t start it 40 years ago, I have been involved for 33 of those 40 years,” Jennings says. “It’s certainly a moment of pride to recognize that we have been able to survive when most businesses don’t even make it through the first couple of years.”
40 Years and Counting
When reflecting on how CV Art and Frame has been able to survive 40 years, Jennings says it boils down to one word — integrity.
“I believe that customers have come to recognize the quality of workmanship and the integrity that the organization has presented them with,” Jennings says. “So, it’s maybe a natural sequence of events to continue to support us. And that has been wonderful.”
Jennings also recognizes that the art gallery provides its customers with a special level of expertise that they can’t get from just anywhere. So much so, she has clients that have moved out-of-state and still send her work because of CV Art and Frame’s expertise and design skills.
She also credits CV Art and Frame’s ability to withstand time to being versatile.
“As times have changed, so have we,” Jennings says. “We continue to represent or bring in new artists and continue to be relevant. One of the reasons for survival is we’ve been able to evolve and change as times have evolved and changed. The best word there is continuing to be relevant to what people are looking for.”
Looking ahead into what the next 40 years might hold, Jennings hopes that people will think of CV Art and Frame when they think of art, as the company is expanding rapidly with original art. Furthermore, Jennings hopes that residents realize the gallery reaches out to artists all over the world. It can manage and please collectors and art lovers alike, right here in Zionsville.
“I would love to be in a position that when somebody thinks, ‘I need art,’ they think of us,” Jennings says. “A lot of times it happens that people don’t think they can find art in Indiana and they wait till they travel to Chicago or New York or LA, that sort of thing. They tend to not recognize that we can find you the exact art that you’re looking for in this town.”
A Year-Long Celebration
To celebrate its 40-year milestone, CV Art and Frame has hosted events throughout the year. Trips have included a visit to New York City to meet with Peter Max in his studio, specially commissioned artwork of Indianapolis by Nemo, Alexandra Nechita’s RE: IMAGINED tour debuting at CV Art and Frame and Fine Art Trunk Shows featuring a variety of artists and styles.
Artists include Robert Finale, Dr. Seuss and a special personality from the Painter of Light, Thomas Kinkade Studios. CV Art and Frame will host Robert Finale on September 21 from 2-5 p.m.
“Here it is, we’ve been in this business for 40 years,” Jennings says. “That in itself is something to celebrate.”
CV Art and Frame is located at 110 S. Main St. It is open from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and closed on Sundays. For more information about upcoming events or shows, visit them online at cvartandframe.com.