Venerable downtown Frame Works gallery to close

Mike Gibbs, left, who started the Frame Works Gallery in 1982, and Rob Kurtzman, who now runs the gallery, sit in the main showroom. The gallery is set to close on June 30.

An avid photographer with nearly 5,000 human autopsies under his belt as a forensic pathologist, Robert Kurtzman says he may yet find time to pursue his passion.

This, by getting out of the photo gallery and framing business.

“I’ll get to take pictures again,” Kurtzman said with a laugh.

Co-owner along with his wife, Patti, of Frame Works & Gallery, 309 Main St., Kurtzman’s sweeping landscape photos of parts far and near in western Colorado will soon be leaving downtown Grand Junction.

The store, which has been home to various art galleries at the same location for 32 years, will close at the end of the month. Signs listed outside the unit advertise the property as available for a new tenant in July.

Kurtzman, 54, attributes declining revenues, a drop of roughly 30 percent from the same time in 2009, to an extended winter that kept shoppers indoors in an already sluggish economy. Construction in the 300 block of Main Street proved to be the last straw, he said.

In recent months, Kurtzman said he pumped his own money into day-to-day operations, but he found himself still operating at a loss.

“It consumes so much of our time, and we’re not getting anything out it,” he said. “Between the hospital and the gallery, I really don’t have time for anything else.”

Kurtzman, who was Mesa County coroner from 1998 to 2006, performed 159 autopsies last year as an employee of The Pathology Group, which is based out of Community Hospital. The company contracts with Mesa County to perform death investigations.

The Kurtzmans purchased Frame Works in 2007 from Mike Gibbs, who had operated a gallery at the same building since 1982. Another gallery had opened before there in 1978.

Gibbs guided the store through Grand Junction’s oil shale bust, at the time one the few local stores offering framing services.

“It breaks my heart to see it disappear,” Gibbs said. “Half of my life involved running in and out of that store.”


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