Franklin Town Crier John Mather rang the bell, announcing the grand reopening of Rare Prints Gallery Friday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony, celebrating the store's reopening.
Members of Williamson Inc. chamber and community supporters gathered for the special event at the store’s location on Main Street in downtown Franklin.
Nancy Conway, senior vice president of community relations of Williamson Inc, started off the festivities by telling attendee’s about the gallery’s unique prints and called the gallery a community asset.
“If you want something that is most unusual, this store has it,” Conway said.
“The store is a treasure for our community.”
“We have experienced the impact that Chamber support has on an art-based business for a long time,” said co-owner Michael Damico. “I have never seen a chamber so functional and vital.” Damico is also the owner of Damico Frame and Art Gallery in Franklin.
The gallery has been open since 2005, and owners and historic preservationists Rod and Kay Heller partnered with Michael Damico, owner of Damico Frame & Art Gallery, in January 2018 to preserve and grow the Main Street staple. Damico became the director of operations and 50 percent co-owner.
Damico said Rare Prints carries prints dating back from the 1440s to the 1800s with prints ranging from $100 to $10,000.
“I want to make collectors out of all of you,” Damico said. “Our hope is to bring together style and design for you and help you understand collecting.”
Damico introduced his team, which includes his wife Kit Kite, a local artist and curator for the gallery.
“She is the visionary for the gallery,” Damico said. “She is so creative, she tells me what she wants, and I will make it.”
Mel Ferrer, gallery director, said the store has prints that cover nearly every topic.
“Our gallery is like a walk-in Google,” Ferrer said.
“We have in our collection prints dating back to the era of the first printing press in the 15th century, including an original map of France from 1592.”
The term “rare prints” in the gallery refers to some of the inventory that is derived from pages that were removed from antique books, some dating back to shortly after the first printing press was developed in the 15th century and spanning all the way to the 20th century.
Damico explained how many of the papers had watermarks on them identifying the maker.
“It was very prestigious to have this watermark on the paper,” Damico said.
In addition to rare prints, the store offers business art leasing and rentals, custom framing, shadow boxes, installations and delivery. They also offer scanning, photo and art restoration and reproductions.
Rare Prints Gallery is location at 420 Main Street in downtown Franklin. Visit www.rareprintsgallery.com for more information.