After 25 years at Carillon Square in Glenview, owner Chris Bates hopes a move to Willow Festival will reinvigorate her business.
The fine art gallery moved to the shopping center at Willow and Waukegan roads in March and will celebrate with a grand opening in April.
Although the square footage of the gallery is about the same
as its previous location in Glenview, the fourteen-foot ceilings and polished concrete floors give the new gallery an industrial, slightly edgy appeal. Bates said she made the decision to move based on a steady decline in foot traffic at Carillon Square.
“What we like about Willow Festival is its vibrancy,” says Bates. “We’re hoping people will discover us again.”
Bates likes to think of her gallery as one of the secrets of the North Shore. Showcasing the work of more than 75 artists from around the world, Art Post Gallery offers not only one-of-a-kind works of art but also fine framing services, custom mirrors, and art restoration. Carlyn Janus, a graduate of The Art Institute of Chicago, is available once a week to repair rips, chips, and scratches and to clean acrylic and oil paintings.
Rosemary Place, a customer for more than 20 years who visits the gallery regularly, refers to it as “an adult candy store.”
“I’ve spent many Saturdays here,” she laughs. “Chris is delightful, sophisticated and down to earth, and she is very talented in her outlook and how she chooses her art. She has so many unique pieces.”
Place tells the story of how she often came to admire a certain painting at the gallery. When Bates called Place at her workplace one day to let her know that someone else was looking to purchase the piece, her boss, a lawyer in Chicago, could see how much she loved the painting and that she was clearly upset. He ended up buying the piece, which Bates describes as “an exquisite” oil painting, and hanging it in their office.
Place also began bringing her sister, Mary Matthews, to the gallery, and now Matthews has become a loyal customer as well. She recently remodeled her home in Long Grove and, with the help of Bates, is slowly filling the walls with new art.
“She is really good with matching frames to prints,” Matthews comments, “and she’ll search for something to fit a particular wall for you.” Bates also helped Matthews in spacing a group of prints. “She told me exactly how many inches apart to hang them—and they look great.”
Another unique offering Bates provides to her customers is the ability to take a piece of art home and ‘live’ with it.
“That way they can see it in different lighting or try it in different areas of their home,” she says. Then they can decide to keep the piece or return it if it doesn’t work the way they expect. This takes the pressure off what can be a big investment (average prices range from $1,500 to $5,500).
“It’s like a lending library,” says Bates, “and it’s worked beautifully.”
Besides a vast collection of traditional, contemporary and eclectic works of art on its walls, the gallery also has drawers filled with less expensive, unframed prints. Those include landscapes, botanical prints, antique maps and abstracts, and can be purchased as is or custom framed at the gallery.
“We want this to be a tranquil place where people can get away for a few minutes and see something beautiful,” says Bates.
Bates’ husband, Scott, became a partner in the business after he retired from banking in 2002. When asked if he is involved in the artistic end of things, he laughs and says, “I know my limitations.”
“He’s the business manager,” Bates adds, smiling.
She and her husband will host a reception for patrons new and old on Thursday, April 19. Local painter Tom Matucci will be on hand, along with live music, hors d’ouevres, wine—and fine art, of course.