Sep 15, 2009

The Art Box

by Mallory Barks

Anne Ganong, owner of the Art Box in downtown Lynchburg, loves having a shop where artists can come buy supplies, discuss their latest project or chat with other art lovers.

The Art Box is not the average chain store with generic supplies. The Art Box carries the usual and the unusual, according to Ganong. They have high-end products and student-rate materials.

“There is something for every age and talent,” employee David Eakin said.

The store sells all kinds of oils, inks, encaustics and pastels as well as brushes, easels, cards and handmade papers. Everything is discounted 10 percent off the retail price, according to Eakin.

“This isn’t your place if you’re looking for foam paper and glitter glue, but if you’re low on cash and out of acrylic paint then the Art Box worth the trip,” sophomore Amy Marquez said.

Ganong’s business began as a custom framing shop in Charlottesville in 1980. Seventeen years later Ganong began selling art supplies. It started with a few basic items in one corner of the room, and then more materials and products, until the stock began to take over the shop. People from all over Virginia were going to Charlottesville to get their art supplies.

Eakin, then a frequent customer, suggested Ganong expand to Lynchburg. Ganong agreed and opened the Art Box in the Riverview’s Artspace on Jefferson Street, where it was open for more than five years.

With art supplies, you’re selling dreams,” Ganong said. “There’s a lot that you can say through art and there’s a lot that can only be said through art.”

As the Art Box continued to grow, Ganong wanted space to offer more than just supplies. So in July Ganong moved her shop to 422 12th St. The Art Box now has one floor for art supplies and one floor for studios and classrooms.

The eight studios, which will open in about a month, will be available for individuals to rent on a one year lease. Ganong also hopes to keep one studio for individuals to rent by the day.

The classrooms will house art demonstrations of a particular style or product and six to eight week classes taught by local artists. She plans to begin hosting the classes in January. Ganong also has another idea to make the Art Box one-of-a-kind.

“Our biggest dream is to paint on the roof … (where there is) this terrific vista of Lynchburg,” Ganong said.

Aside from the future roof studio, Ganong believes the shop’s mix of materials makes the Art Box unique.

The store has enough customers that Ganong can carry a wide range of brands and supplies. Ganong will even place special orders if the Art Box does not have what a customer wants.

“(We) are able to work one-on-one with customers to help them find what they need to create art,” Eakin said.

Not only is the Art Box an art supply store, it is also a place for art lovers to gather. Ganong’s favorite thing about the store is a little bench near the register where regular customers sit down to read the newspaper or talk.

According to Ganong, one of the greatest things about art is the fellowship with other artists. The Art Box staff strives to
help people meet each other so they can get together to paint.

“Anne Ganong does a lot for the artists in Lynchburg and surrounding areas,” Eakin said. “I think we are very fortunate that she brought her shop to Lynchburg.”

Contact Mallory Barks at mjbarks@liberty.edu.
 


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