Art has always been a part of Lana Williams’ life. Before she opened her gallery in Old Town Spring in 1983, she was a nurse. But she continued to paint around her schedule and sell her work in art shows on the weekends.
“They said, ‘You can’t make a living at it,’” Williams said of people she knew at the time.
Proving the naysayers wrong, Williams began selling art full-time. She bought the Preston Avenue location in the mid-1990s to accommodate the shop’s growth and to create a permanent home for her retail space.
Although she partially retired in 2000 to move to the Bahamas, and her daughter and son-in-law took over the business, Williams said she still paints every day.
All of the items in the shop are made by members of the family. Williams’ daughter, Kelly Speer, makes jewelry and three-dimensional art; Williams’ son-in-law, Richard Speer, creates home decor out of metal; and Williams’ own acrylic and watercolor paintings are featured throughout the store.
All of the artwork is original and no prints are made, so customers are always buying a one-of-a-kind piece, Richard said.
“I’d rather somebody have an original than a print, even if it’s an extra good print,” Williams said.
Williams’ subject matter includes landscapes, animals and people. Many paintings feature soft pastel shades and depict scenes from Williams’ home in the Bahamas. Others use bright blocks of color and range in size from as small as a credit card to large enough to hang over a sofa.
Richard said he had not imagined himself becoming involved in the arts full-time. He had worked in the automotive repair industry before helping to take over the shop in 2000.
Richard creates table bases, drapery hardware, fireplace screens and wall accents with pieces of metal, which he shapes and welds together in a workshop behind the store.
Kelly works with lighter metals and natural materials including semiprecious stones to create her Earthstones line of jewelry, which is on display throughout the shop. She is also known for angel sculptures made with beads and metals.
Richard said the store’s customer base runs the gamut of ages but typically consists of homeowners who want something unique.
“We have fun making everything and I want people to have fun looking at it,” Williams said.