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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The "Searching For Another Outlet For My Artwork" Story

My altered Polaroid featuring Market Alley
It was an ordinary day.  Pulling into a parking space behind Strawberry & Company for perhaps the last time.  For years I have been parking behind the retail stores that line the first block of West King Street to drop off my altered Polaroid photos that I have been selling in the gift shops that open to King Street as well as the street in front of Lancaster's historical Farmer's Market.
I made many stops at "The Tag Shop" over the years
to drop off photographs with Barry.
It was at the end of the 20th Century that I began selling my prints at "The Tag Shop" which was owned and operated by my good friend Barry Kline and his wife Mary Jo.  I did well with photos that featured the historical buildings of downtown Lancaster, PA and Lancaster County.  Then in 2011 Barry died and the story closed.  Wasn't long before I walked into "Strawberry Company", which was located next door, and met Wayne Lucas for the first time.  
Wayne stands in the alley behind his
store, waiting for my arrival.
I showed him my prints and he agreed to take them on consignment.  Wayne and his wife Bernadine opened their cozy gallery in 1981 at 7-9 West King.  The TV cameras were on hand for the grand opening as was Art Morris, the Mayor of Lancaster  They began by featuring antiques, but eventually morphed into an art gallery that carried work from many local artists, including Wayne who offered paintings as well as his whimsical papier mache sculptures.  After 9/11 the buildings owner moved Wayne and his shop to 11 West King.  I have been making stops in the alley for deliveries to "Strawberry & Company" for about five years now and have done well in his shop. I made my stops to not only drop off photographs, but to enjoy the conversation and company that Wayne and I shared.
Wayne working on one of his papier mache schulptures.
I enjoyed looking at the myraid of artwork as well as the cabinets of ornaments and gifts he offers from all over the world.  And, Wayne's sculptures are amazing.  He always seemed to be working on a different animal every time I visited.  Then, the call came!  "We've decided to retire and will be closing the shop at the end of June," was the message.  
Wayne's storefront on West King Street advertising his closing.
Wayne began his career as an art director in advertising and Bernadine taught art in high school until they finally moved to Lancaster and opened their downtown shop.  I don't begrudge them their retirement, since owning a retail store is extremely time consuming and physically tiring, but I will miss my trips to the rear alley behind his shop. I hope Wayne and Bernadine will now have the time to explore and enjoy more of what they couldn't accomplish with the time constraints of owning a retail business.  As for me, I guess its time to begin a search for yet another shop in downtown Lancaster to sell my photographs.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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