• Artist-owner Lynda Reed looks forward to new time and space to make her own sketches
By Naomi Klouda
One of Homer’s longest-operating business owners plans a liquidation sale, a move that means the loss of a major art venue and one less place to purchase the finer women’s fashions available in this fishing town.
Lynda Reed, owner of Picture Alaska Art Gallery and The Upstairs Boutique, announced her plan to close the business she has run for 18 years on Pioneer Avenue. The building and one-quarter acre city lot are for sale, along with a plan to liquidate all the art, photographs, original paintings, hand sculptures, jewelry, gifts and boutique clothing.
One reason for the move is to allow the owner – an award-winning artist in her own right – time to devote to her portraiture art. And it would allow her to focus on her second downtown business: Homer Art and Frame Co., on Lake Street below Kachemak Wholesale.
Developing courses offered at the spacious frame shop meshes well with Reed’s own pursuits, she said.
Between the two businesses, Reed has spread her creativity and lent an artist’s careful eye to everything from designing tasteful interiors for exhibiting art, to acquiring art and framing it. Now it’s time to dial down the energy into a single focus.
“I’ve had to put my own art on the back burner. My original intention of making an art studio for myself just sort of vanished through the years,” Reed said. She is a member of the Alaska Water Color Society, where she has placed First in Show for her commissioned and independent portraits.
Still, the changes to come mean relinquishing the creation of another kind. “(Closing the business) is almost like sending my kids down river. I don’t know what it will be like to liquidate everything in the store,” she said.
In the past 24 years, the creative entrepreneur kept finding gaps in need of filling. She started in 1990 in a building now housing Head Start on Ocean Drive. She began restoring antique photographs, and sold vintage photographs. After finding traffic passed by her photo shop without noticing it, she moved to Lake Street for a better location and expanded her art collection. A third move, to the shop where K-Bay Caffe now resides, was followed by a change to her present location, to 448 E. Pioneer, which she purchased in 1996.
The building has seen a lot of coming and going in its 50 years, before Reed poured creative energy into its remodel. Homer Thompson’s junk shop did business from the first floor in the 1960s. Homer’s mother, who lived to almost 100 years old, resided upstairs. Bob McClymonds bought the shop to highlight baseball cards and miscellany, called Kachemak Bay Collectibles. When Reed purchased the building, she focused on redesigning the lower floor and left the upstairs unused for a time before deciding to add the Boutique – which evolved from yet another niche need she found in Homer. In that, she had satisfied a gap in women’s fashions available locally.
“Each thing was a learning process,” Reed said. “I had started to sell art, and then people came to me for their framing needs. I added that, and so on.”
A more recent expansion provides art instruction. A lot of people in Homer want to learn from the many talented artists who live here. When aspiring artists asked at her art shop where they might find lessons, it gave Reed yet another idea – opening Homer Art and Frame Co. Yet connecting the two has been a challenge. “It takes patience and time to fill classes, and it takes planning,” Reed said.
Art and Frame grew to both provide art materials and link the art instructors with students. By relinquishing her duties at Picture Alaska, Reed says she can devote more time to this endeavor.
For now, Reed is letting people know of her plans by word of mouth. She figures it may take a while to liquidate Picture Alaska.
“I’m not sure how this will work, but I am hoping to be out by the end of the year,” she said. The artist then can begin her next sketch, hopefully seated at the easel.
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