For a quarter century, Sue Wittman has been framing works of art and prized possessions in and around Middletown.
At the monthly First Friday celebration in downtown, Wittman will celebrate the 25th anniversary of her business, Artique, which currently resides at the Pendleton Art Center at 1108 Central Ave. In addition to custom framing, she represents artists.
“Art is such a part of my life,” said Wittman, who holds a master’s degree in art history from the University of Kentucky. “I think on many levels my representation of artists is important. Many artists don’t want to deal with the business end of it, and they don’t want to deal with framing their own work.”
Wittman purchased in 1989 Bergquist Gallery, a custom framing and wildlife print gallery. She had previously managed galleries in Lexington, Ky, and Cincinnati, and wanted to jump at the opportunity to return to her hometown of Middletown.
After several years of owning Bergquist, Wittman changed the name to Artique and moved the gallery to Kittyhawk Plaza, where she began showcasing original art by local artists. She has exhibited more than 100 different artists who work in a range of mediums, including watercolors, bronze, fine ceramic and pastels. Wittman moved her Kittyhawk Plaza location in 2000 to her home.
Wittman has also shown several solo shows at Artique by nationally known artists, including Charley Harper, Chris Walden and Christina Knapp. Wittman moved her frame shop location from North Breiel Boulevard to the Pendleton Art Center when the center opened in April 2011. The tradition of celebrating artists continues, Wittman said, with the opening of Artique2, where she represents 10 regional artists. Artique2 opened at the Pendleton in May 2011.
Wittman began framing in 1986 while in graduate school at the University of Kentucky and working at the art museum at the college.
And while people bring her works of art to frame, she said people will bring her things that may not have a huge monetary value “but have an enormous sentimental value,” such as items from a baby’s christening, high school memorabilia and family heirlooms.
But there are some unusual items she’s been asked to frame, including a car bumper where a young driver totaled his dad’s vintage car and all that remained was the bumper. She also framed a set of surgical tools.
“These were tools from someone’s open heart surgery,” she said. “He asked the surgeon for the tools that were used and wanted to frame them and hang on his wall.”
For the month of August, Artique will have a 25 percent discount on framing work. There will be an anniversary celebration at the Pendleton Art Center during First Friday on Aug. 1. For more information on Artique, visit Facebook.com, or online on Aug. 1 when www.artiqueframing.com is launched.