by Tami Baum
What was once a quaint mom and pop frame store in Alpine has now become a sophisticated, elegant art gallery and custom framing boutique. Tonya Ahlstrom, the new owner and gallery director of Seasons Gallery Art & Frame, has an eye for success. With its rich, warm new facelift, this gallery is very inviting; a place you could go to just hang out for a while.
Ahlstrom, who has a background in interior design, was suddenly faced with the sole responsibility of caring for herself and six children after the recent death of her husband. She decided to return to The Design Institute of San Diego where she had begun her education, but after a semester of traveling to and from Utah on a weekly basis, she realized it was unrealistic for her and her family to continue the commute.
Ahlstrom had always had an interest in interior design, fashion design, and anything to do with the arts, and knew she wanted to pursue a career within those parameters. She began a simple framing business in her house for friends and clients, purchasing her supplies from the local fame store. The owners, who were looking to retire, suggested she purchase the store; which, after several months of consideration she did. Aided with her background in interior design, she spent the next nine months renovating and giving new life to the store. The building, she soon found, had many nooks and crannies and unusual architecture. Instead of trying to cover it up, Ahlstrom decided to accentuate to blend the building into one complimentary space. Her sense of style shines through especially on the entrance wall, which was constructed at a reverse angle.
Currently displaying in the gallery portion of the shop are photographic art, pastels, watercolors, and oil paintings by local artists. Also, Ahlstrom and her helpful staff — Louis Azure and Josh Graham — are getting ready to launch a new and innovative display concept; a hi-definition electronic viewing theater, especially nice if you are from another part of Utah or even out of state.
The custom framing portion of the store is now a very open and inviting place to build the perfect frame for any piece of artwork. Tonya planned this so customers can come in and feel free to pull frame samples off the wall and see how they reflect the art, a nice hands-on experience. She also has a program to frame your artwork right on the computer, to view the final product before one cut is made. The staff has many of the frame mouldings, liners, and matting supplies on site for customers. She has state of the art equipment for the best and quickest results. When I visited she was able to cut a custom size matte for a last minute gift.
The gallery is always looking for all types of art as long as it inspiring. If you would like to get in touch with Tonya to show your artwork one can call, email, or visit the studio. The grand opening of the shop was this past November. It is located in downtown Alpine at 195 East 200 North. Together with the other five galleries in Alpine, they collaborate and host the Alpine Gallery Stroll the first Thursday of every even month. The first one of 2008 will be February 6th. For more information check the gallery website at www.seasonsartgallery.com or better yet, pop in for a visit.