Walking into Belmar Frame and Art, I was greeted by owner Judy Niewald in the midst of selecting mats and frames for two vivid photographs by one of her regular clients: purple star-studded skies behind a line of glowing fall trees, and the other, a vibrant orange sky, reflected in a foreground body of water with Colorado’s red rocks glorious in their natural beauty. Many colorful mat samples and frame corners were scattered about, demonstrating the time and attention Judy takes in creating a custom framing solution for the customer’s artwork.
Showing me around the store, Judy explained that she has always had an interest in art and started out working at a molding distributor for 15 years, then a framing company for 12 years. A natural progression was to buy her own framing store. She bought Better Framer and changed the name to Belmar Frame and Art two years ago. And we are happy to welcome her as a new “organization” member of the Lakewood Arts Council.
In a strip mall at 7111 West Alameda, Belmar Frame and Art catches your attention with a window display that Judy likes to change out with the season. She also works with a group of six to seven artists, exhibiting their work on the gallery walls as well as showing pottery, sculpture and jewelry from local artists. Judy’s own artwork: oils, watercolor, mixed media also grace the walls, from Italian landscapes to semi-abstract florals.
Handpainted frames house whimsical miniatures and a papier-mache mask was beautifully displayed in a deep shadowbox.
This is her specialty, she explains – working with the proper placement of items in a shadowbox. Many times she is asked to frame customers’ cherished memorabilia. Placing them in a shadowbox where each item is highlighted can be a challenge. One of her most difficult framing projects was when a client brought in two bags of wrapping paper, ribbons and gift bags from various celebrations. Judy’s solution was to cover mats with the different samples of paper, weaving the gift ribbons amongst the colorful papers. It’s these kinds of creative solutions that set her custom framing projects apart from the competition. The same client had also presented her with a myriad of souvenir items from trips to New York City, remembrances from Times Square and Central Park, menus from various restaurants, and programs and tickets from Broadway plays. Seven different framing projects resulted from this request.
Glancing at the computer monitor displaying examples of her custom framing, I asked Judy about available technology for those looking to make mat and frame selections from a home computer. “This is really more of a hands-on type decision,” she explains. “Colors are not always true on computer monitors. It’s necessary to bring in your artwork and select mat and frame choices directly.”
In addition to running a business and fitting in creative time for her own artwork, Judy also does a lot of charitable work, hosting art classes that benefit ovarian cancer research. Teacher Jean Murr, an ovarian cancer survivor, teaches a class for other cancer survivors. With generous donations, each student receives paints, brushes, an easel – enough supplies to create her own artwork. More information about this inspiring charity can be found on Belmar Frame and Art’s facebook page and blog, www.belmarframe.blogspot.com
Right now turn-around time is only about one to one and a half weeks, which is great news for those looking to frame items for holiday gifts. Judy is even generously offering a 15% discount on framing to LAC members through April with mention of your membership. She maintains her prices are comparable to other frame shops. And with such personal service and her expertise, you’re definitely going to appreciate the care she takes with your treasured art. Stop in the Lakewood store or check out her website at www.belmarframe.com