Gallery owner turns from biology to art, framing

B&J Gallery at 955 Fields Dr. has a wide variety of artwork and picture framing services. Jake Pope/HERALD

Whitney Allen

Before Robin Gentry bought the B&J Gallery from her aunt in 1997, she never anticipated owning an art gallery. 

“I actually went to Western and have a biology degree, so, the farthest thing from art that you could think of,” Gentry said.

The local gallery, which has been open since 1960, features work from several local artists, both originals and prints. They also do custom framing. 

“We try to keep a selection of local prints in,” Gentry said. “We feature local artists and rotate around the original art they have.” 

Gentry decided to take on the challenge of owning the gallery when her aunt decided to sell it. When she bought the shop, Gentry didn’t have experience with framing.

“It’s like anything when you start doing something and you’re interested in it,” Gentry said. “You’re going to learn what you need to know about it.”

She took classes through the Professional Picture Framers Association and is now a Master Certified picture framer. Gentry is also currently the president of the international organization.

Gentry said she works to stay up-to-date on proper framing techniques. 

“It’s always nice to know that if you have something that you think is special enough to get framed, that the people that are going to frame it are going to take the time to find out the way to do it correctly,“ Gentry said.

She has passed along her framing knowledge to her employee, Becky Borden, who found B&J through an ad in the paper. Borden had no experience with framing, but a genuine interest in art— similar to Gentry when she began. 

“Robin taught me everything I know,” Borden said. 

Nine years later, Borden is Gentry’s only other employee. Borden said the best part of the job is learning the backstory behind the artwork. 

“We get to hear the background, we’ll ask them what’s the significance of this and we’ll get to hear the whole story —  that’s really neat,” Borden said.

While the gallery offers a variety of artwork, framing artwork serves as a large portion of their work. The framing portion of the job is where Gentry can add her creativity into the process.

“When someone brings something in, you ask them if they have anything in mind and you kind of get an idea on their feelings for the piece,” Gentry said. “Then you can work your creative magic into their thought process.”