One day about 13 years ago, while painting a backdrop for a Corry Community Theater production of “Fiddler on the Roof”, local artist Wendy Neckers looked around at the building in North Center Street she was in, then being refurbished, and thought, ‘That would make a fantastic gallery.
Little did she know that she would be the one to make this happen a few years later.
Neckers’ establishment, Painted Finch Gallery, first opened on Route 6 nearly 10 years ago in July 2012, then moved to its current location at 32 N. Center St. in May 2015. C It’s a place where local artists sell and showcase their work.
To make her dream come true, Neckers said she did research by visiting galleries, reading business books, attending gallery business seminars, and volunteering at the Allegheny Artistry Co-op. Gallery.
According to Neckers, Painted Finch represents approximately 45 different artists with original paintings, drawings, prints, glass, sculpture and custom designed jewelry.
These artists include Jack Paluh, a professional oil painter from Waterford, and Cole Johnson, a nationally renowned wildlife artist from Binghamton, New York.
“Jack Paluh dances light through his landscapes and wildlife,” Neckers said. “Using charcoal and graphite, Cole Johnson’s animal creations seem to breathe.”
Neckers also mentioned Carrie Magee of Union City, who creates jewelry from gemstones and precious metals, Todd Eastman of Spartansburg, who makes wooden bowls that Neckers described as elegant and “richly patterned.”
In Neckers’ opinion, however, these are not the only noteworthy artists featured in his shop.
“Ellen Paquette’s carefully crafted acrylic portraits of fancifully costumed animals tell intriguing stories,” Neckers added. “Kathe Umlauf’s fluid movement breathes the personality and life of clay and bronze animals. And Judy Hodge paints landscapes in acrylics that vibrate with energy.
Fast forward to just over five years ago, in March 2017, when Neckers’ landlord approached her about renting the storefront adjacent to 35 N. Center St. She said she was reluctant at first. , but finally decided to go.
Epiphany’s Emporium, Neckers’ second store, is run by his sister, Valerie Beckerink. It features local craftsmen who specialize in felting wool as well as making wooden, glass, paper, ceramic and leather goods. Some items are made in the United States while other product lines are international.
Neckers called it “a craft paradise with art supplies, hairy stools, cowhide rugs, jewelry, stones, and craft sodas.”
Beckerink, she said, has been a positive presence at the store.
“Val came with a wealth of retail experience and has been a tremendous asset and manager to Epiphany’s,” Neckers said.
There are six employees between the two stores, not including Neckers, and both are open seven days a week.
It’s been a rewarding experience for Neckers, but she noted it hasn’t always been easy.
“Any time you take on a dream and turn it into a reality, it comes with a number of challenges,” she said. “There are days when we wonder why we embarked on this adventure. But then, in our case, there are times when an art lover finds the piece that resonates with them, or that perfect gift, and you think, “That’s good.”
Neckers also said she takes great pleasure in seeing artists benefit once their work is sold.