The Lone Tree Gallery and Frame Shop closed on Saturday, ending a 30-year business that began in owner Barry Jobe’s garage.
Jobe said that brain cancer and an economy that is still staggering for art dealers forced the decision to sell the building on Esmeralda Avenue that has been the gallery’s home since 1993.
The gallery was originally the Stratton Pharmacy, Jobe said.
“When I was in high school, we’d come in and get cherry Cokes,” he said. “This building was a meeting place for all the cowboys and ranchers who would come in and talk about the issues.”
He said that he hopes the new owner does something creative with the building.
Jobe said that he began the business, not because of his mother, local artist Mimi Jobe, but to be his own boss.
“I liked the idea of working for myself and said that I would do it when I had the chance,” Jobe said.
As many as 60 artists were represented in Jobe’s gallery in a month, not leaving him much personal time, he said.
Artists such as Karen Aleman, Bob Coronato and Teri Sweeney have been exhibited at Jobe’s gallery. Most of the artists Jobe represented showcase western landscapes and the rancher lifestyle.
“I’ve been tickled to be able to show what we have from these artists,” he said. “These guys are top-notch. They need bigger exposure.”
The gallery began as a frame shop. The store will return to its roots under its original name Lone Tree Frame Company under the ownership of Jobe’s sister-in-law, Janis Jobe, at 1497 Highway 395 North beginning May 1.
Jobe will transfer all his framing supplies and equipment to the new store for free, he said.
“The (framing) business has value,” he said. “I didn’t put it up to sell because (Janis) enjoys framing and design work.”
Janis worked for Jobe in the 1980s as a framer before marrying Jobe’s brother and returned to work for the gallery and frame shop a few years ago after her children were grown, she said.
“I love the design work and making it happen,” she said. “Each piece is different and you have to create something special for it.”
It’s as much about conservation of art as it is about presentation of art, Janis said.
“At the gallery I was always divided between framing and helping customers with the art,” she said. “Now I’ll have time to come up with really creative stuff.”
New opportunities may spring out of the gallery’s closure. Both Jobe and Janis have considered opening a gallery inside the new store if Jobe’s health improves this summer. And Jobe has considered setting up an art appraisal business from home.
“Appraisal is so popular now because of the Antiques Road Show that I might actually have time to do some of that now,” he said.
Jobe will focus on his health this summer and plans to stay active in art as either an appraiser, agent or gallery owner once again.
“Watch for me in the future,” he said. “I’m looking forward to staying active in the community.”