Bates and her gallery return to Northbrook
Left, Christina Bates, owner of the Art Post Gallery at Northbrook Willow Festival, confers with client Fran Gougler of Northfield. The Art Post Gallery has original Shermer Road Northbrook 1980s roots. | Karie Angell Luc~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 6, 2012 11:28AM
NORTHBROOK — Christina Bates, owner of the Northbrook Willow Festival Art Post Gallery, has “fond memories of the building,” she said, of the gallery’s first location at 1338-40 Shermer Road in downtown Northbrook.
“The space didn’t suit where I wanted to take the business,” said Bates, a Golf resident, “but it sure got me started.”
The former Schilling building, a white frame structure, was torn down in February 1989, the gallery its last occupant.
“Art Post started up in 1972,” said Bates, “by local Northbrook resident, Al Burmeister. “He only carried art supplies to begin with, then added picture framing. I bought the business from him in 1980 and started adding art.”
Today’s Art Post Gallery space at the Willow Festival shopping center features an international roster of artists via colorful works against light walls of a modern space.
“We had outgrown our space by the time the village decided to renovate Shermer Road, so we moved to Carillon Square in Glenview in 1987, leaving behind little paned windows, a deep red awning and poor parking.”
After 25 years there, the gallery had expanded to 2,600 square feet and had grown in reputation, too.
“We made the decision to return to Northbrook as Willow Festival became a hub of shopping activity,” said Bates.
Looking back to almost boxy confines of those early Shermer Road location: “The space was small, but quaint,” recalled Bates, of that original near-American foursquare-inspired building.
Bates is proud of her gallery’s niche.
“Unlike most of the Chicago galleries where the focus is contemporary art, we feature a large selection of traditional and transitional art, in addition to many contemporary pieces,” said Bates, who has two children, a son and daughter, plus two stepdaughters with her husband Scott.
“Our framing philosophy is that ‘framing is an art,’” said Bates.
“The focus should never be on the frame, but the right frame can “make” the art shine and meaningfully enhance a tired piece of art.”
While many North Shore addresses receive home décor catalogs, the Northbrook/Glenview area is, “very discerning, this is an upscale area with access to lots of resources.
“Among the next generation of potential art buyers, I would like to see our American society look less to catalogs and “fake art” and get back in touch with supporting the arts.
“When you buy an original painting, you help support a real artist,” said Bates. “And, a unique work of art adds real character to your home.
“My test is simple. If I walk into someone’s home, can I tell something unique about them as a person from the art on their walls?”
The Art Post Gallery features artists such as Erich Paulsen, 80, a German artist who paints with a pallet knife and Christian Charvet, 70, a French street painter.
Said Bates, “His (Charvet) little bright red paintings of a French poet are whimsical and charming.”
Bates, who holds a University of Florida fine arts degree, dabbles in acrylics and textiles, but is mostly a curator.
“I hand-pick all of the artists and artwork for the gallery,” said Bates. “We represent over 75 different nationally and internationally known artists (only three in the Chicagoland area).
“I’m often asked how I know what to select,” said Bates. “After 32 years, I rely on instinct!”
The Art Post Gallery is at 984 Willow Road in Northbrook. Visit www.artpostgallery.com or call (847) 657-9492.