If at any point during the past year you’ve stared at the empty wall above your work-from-home desk longing for inspiration or, during a closet cleanout, came across beloved photos or artwork that you never got around to framing, this Small Business Spotlight is for you: Greenwood Park Gallery and Framing.
When Dan and I rang the bell at the front door of Greenwood Park Gallery and Framing, Billie Nash and Fred Robinson Jr. greeted us warmly and welcomed us upstairs to their gallery space at 4233 W Fond Du Lac Avenue in the Sherman Park neighborhood. Seated at the table next to Billie, I explained my vision for displaying the decorative azulejo tiles that I purchased in Lisbon and she wasted no time suggesting how they could be displayed in shadow boxes. While she took measurements, Dan and I wasted no time exploring the gallery, surprised to discover just how much art was on display.
Fred Robinson Sr., Fred Robinson Jr., and Billie Nash are the co-owners of Greenwood Park Gallery and Framing. Together, they manage the spacious 3,300 square foot gallery upstairs and custom framing shop downstairs, which reside in the same building that Mr. Robinson Sr. has owned for the past 23 years.
It was Mr. Robinson Sr. who founded the gallery and framing business over 15 years ago, and with its commencement, affordable custom framing and Contemporary African American art was made available to Milwaukee and its surrounding communities.
Among the art displayed in their gallery is custom framed open and limited-edition prints, giclées (fine art digital prints made on inkjet printers), art on canvas, and some original pieces, along with a private collection of African masks and artifacts. The majority of art featured on the gallery walls is contemporary African American art mixed with fine art, landscapes, florals and abstracts, religious and historical art.
Greenwood Park Gallery and Framing is the only gallery in the area that is an authorized dealer for world renowned artist Charles Bibbs.
It isn’t only their collection of art that makes them unique. Greenwood Park Gallery and Framing is one of the few full-service businesses offering framing and printing services along with their gallery. This makes them a “one stop shop” for customers. Their comprehensive service approach allows them to take an artist’s work, print it on canvas or paper, and gallery wrap or frame it. Their goal is to provide these custom framing and matting services at affordable prices too.
One of their unframed canvas paintings caught our eye and when it came time to pick a frame, Mr. Robinson Jr. patiently talked us through our options. A gallery wrap, where the canvas is stretched over bars, was an option, but we decided on a gold frame with a fillet. We couldn’t have been happier with the result!
If you’re interested in browsing their collection of art or learning more about their services, Greenwood Park Gallery and Framing would warmly welcome you into their space. Not only is the gallery open to viewing by the public, but they have hosted art receptions, book signings, and special events, prior to the pandemic of course. They previously sponsored community-oriented events like group tours and framing demonstrations for kids and are hoping to get back to hosting these types of events in their space in the future.
We’ve been back to Greenwood Park Gallery and Framing several times now for assistance with multiple projects and I am always so appreciative of their hospitality. Ms. Nash and Mr. Robinson Jr. are more than willing to answer all of our questions and impart some of their framing knowledge. On a recent visit, Mr. Robinson Sr. was kind enough to spend time talking with me in their workshop, even giving me a tour and showing me some of the machinery used in frame assembly.
My expanded understanding of art has coincided with my learning more about artists in the Milwaukee community. While watching the documentary Remembering Bronzeville, Dan and I were both intrigued by a charcoal drawing of Milwaukee’s North 7th Street and Walnut Street by Sylvester Sims. Eager to learn more about this prominent local artist, who was also the first African American man in Wisconsin history to win a State High Diving Championship in 1944, I asked Mr. Robinson Sr. if they had any of his drawings or paintings in the gallery. He took me through the gallery and identified each of Sims’ pieces that they had framed and hung on the walls, including, to my delight, the Bronzeville street scene that initially caught our eye.
My hands were already full, carrying a print they had just finished framing for me, but as I walked back down the stairs, I took another look at the drawing and said that they would be seeing us again soon!
For more information on the services offered by Greenwood Park Gallery and Framing and to get just a small glimpse of the art available for purchase, visit their website or Facebook page. In my opinion though, the best way to get to know this small business is by visiting the gallery for yourself!
A big thank you to Mr. Robinson Sr. and Mr. Robinson Jr. for their support in confirming details for this post!