Sunday, September 19, 2010

The End of an Era

After church, C and I kept on our nice clothes and went to a funeral. It wasn't the funeral of a person, but of an era, a place, a way of life. In 1972 a man with big dreams and big style opened a frame shop in Chapel Hill. A few years later, a young man stepped off his friend's motorcycle to answer a help wanted ad, and knowing nothing about framing at the time, learned a skill that kept him employed for the next twenty and more years. The frame shop became an art gallery, a jewel of fine art, glass, sculpture, and jewelry, and thrived with the booming eighties and nineties. Nine years ago, fresh out of college, I answered a help wanted ad at that art gallery. It was my first professional job, and I learned so much. My experience there propelled me to success in school and work in New York, and then brought me home again, to my husband, that boy on a borrowed motorcycle. My feelings about the gallery are a huge nostalgic mixture, and maybe they are larger than life, but I don't think I'm the only one who was sad to see the gallery go into Chapter 7 bankruptcy and eventually close this weekend with a public auction. I know a lot of people feel like the loss of such an amazing business is a tragedy, not just for this area, but for the artists spread all across the nation who sold work there. And why no bailout? Well, I won't go into politics. I just wanted to say how strange it was, how sad, and how sickening, to see the gorgeous gallery stripped of its finery yesterday, its every moveable part grabbed at, sold to the highest bidder in a feeding frenzy of a crowd, and then to see the place empty out to nothing but tipped pedestals, empty fast-food restaurant cups, and broken glass.


mother said...

It makes me want to cry. It is a new era now, and who knows what lay around the bend. I do know that in the end, art will survive and even when all else has turned to rust, art will remain; whether in a rose or a sunset, it will always be.

Just Julie said...

I got chills reading this because your words were so powerful and descriptive; I could feel your sadness.