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Garden of Delights

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Someone once said the art world in America is one third talent, one third perseverance and two thirds business. Despite the fuzzy math that's just about dead on.

“I've worked with art and artists and placing art selling art..for most of my adult life,” says Crestwoods Gallery owner Ann Shive.

Crestwoods Frame Shop and Gallery in Roanoke, Indiana is one of 21 Country's premier art businesses. Ann Shive launched the gallery eight years ago and now carries and sells the work of more than fifty artists, all local or regional like Fort Wayne painter Catherine Blyth on this day delivering some of her new work. A gallery is an art store and Crestwoods carries some of the finest paintings, prints, ceramics and photography in the Midwest. Artists have to sell their work to survive and few of them are good at or interested in doing it. That's where Ann Shive comes in.

“I'm trying to speak for the artist,” she says. “There are some artists that like to market themselves which I fully admire but a lot of artists want to do the art and they want the gallerist to speak for them so I always try to keep that in mind.”

Crestwoods began as a frame shop nearly sixty years ago. Shive bought it in 2012 and, calling on her own art background in ceramics, expanded it into a gallery. The artists she represents work in numerous styles from realistic pieces like this to abstract images like these. But even offering high quality work doesn't guarantee success. Galleries need to attract attention...attract customers...and that's been a challenge in small town Roanoke, Indiana. The current pandemic has not made life easier and sometimes, Shive says, it's hard not getting discouraged.

“I do worry about it, it keeps me up,” she says. “Then in the morning I wake up and I just start all over again.”

That patience and tenacity have guided Crestwoods Gallery through tough times before. And if history is any judge the energetic and creative talent behind it all will navigate this inspiring corner of 21 Country to calmer seas. Eric Olson reporting for Your Story Made Here.

Eric Olson

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