The Hippo


May 28, 2020








Grace Barr hanging a painting in her new framing studio, Creative Framing Solutions. Kelly Sennott photo.

Attend the Creative Framing Solutions opening

Where: 83 Hanover St. (near Londonderry Lane), Manchester
When: Saturday, Oct. 24, from 6 to 10 p.m.
What: The opening exhibition will feature Burr’s paintings and artwork by Thom Falzarano, Steve Webb and Verne Orlosk. 
Contact: Learn more and RSVP to the event at

Finding framing solutions
Grace Burr opens framing, gallery studio in Manchester

By Kelly Sennott

Custom framing goes far beyond fitting something around that odd-sized painting or photograph. and you can see the proof inside Grace Burr’s new business, Creative Framing Solutions.

Located in Manchester’s cultural hotbed on Hanover Street, the space has high ceilings and exposed brick walls. Two weeks before its Oct. 24 opening, the store’s street sign hadn’t yet been hung, but the inside was nearing visitor-ready. Paintings lay against the side wall, waiting to be placed, and natural light poured through windows. At the back of her shop sat some of Burr’s less traditional frame work.
“I’ve done several of these for families,” Burr said, picking up a framed memory box, created for someone who died of breast cancer. Assembled inside was a ribbon, pink bandana and dried roses from the woman’s funeral.
Another wooden structure encased an antique corkscrew with layers of color and texture surrounding it. Beside it was a collection of Red Sox photos, stacked alongside one another, and another frame highlighted shiny trinkets set against green backsplash.
“Costume jewelry. What do you do with it? You stick it in a drawer,” Burr said. “But I think you may as well display it and put it out. You can share it that way. … And it’s incorporating some design, you know what I mean? It’s different.”
Burr, an artist and framer for 25 years, initially started Creative Framing Solutions in Gloucester, Mass., which she ran for seven years before moving to New Hampshire. She put off finding a new storefront, choosing instead to run the business remotely from her home and tiny rented Manchester studio to feel things out. When the Hanover Street space opened up this fall, she leapt at it and moved in Oct. 1. 
It was perfect, located next to the parking garage, yet right smack in the middle of downtown. Plus, footsteps away were other studios and office spaces for local arts businesses, nonprofits and organizations like The Palace Theatre, The New Hampshire Philharmonic, Profile Chorus, StudioVerne, Dance International Studio and others.
“It’s an environment that’s inspiring and stimulating, and that’s one thing I loved. The high ceilings, the natural light — it had the right feel. It was a no-brainer to take it,” Burr said.
A self-taught artist herself, Burr’s looking forward to tackling the Queen City scapes in her own paintings and working with locals to create framing designs.
“I’m an artist myself. I got into framing when I was young,” Burr said. “Everything back then was, you know, in a gold frame, as if it was going to go in the MFA. But now framing has come so far. It has really merged and married with interior design.”
Being an artist, she said, helps her frame. You need to know color theory and the elements of good composition — what will make images pop. Yet at the same time, a successful design, she said, is one you hardly notice.
“You have lines, you have shapes, you have color, you have perspective. These are all the elements that make a painting a painting. They draw the viewer in. A frame is what surrounds it, and it should be a subtle complement, an embellishment to the artwork,” Burr said.
But the real art, she said, is working with the people. 
“I’ve gone to galleries where there’s a counter, and what [the framer] says is what happens. That’s not what this is about. This is a collaboration,” Barr said. “I want to know what you like. I want to know what draws you.”
Once the business is up and running, Burr plans on opening the studio and gallery to other local artists in the hopes they’ll show and sell their work here too. Even though she’s been in New Hampshire for two years, re-opening Creative Framing Solutions here represents her finally diving into the arts community and her commitment to stick around Manchester.
“I love seeing the sun go down and hit the buildings,” Burr said. “I love that in the summer, you can go outside [downtown] and hear live music. I love that you can walk down the street, and there are great restaurants. … The culture here is amazing.” 

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