Susan and Vince Semary – it’s a frame up. The Shadow Box Gallery and Frame Shop is owned and operated by Vince and Susan Semary and they’ve made it work for 31 years. They admit that each is very good at what they do. Susan is a framer and she is a stickler for details when it comes to providing their customers with quality frame work. Vince is a perfectionist regarding his own artwork but he admits that Susan is the boss and she’s in charge of every aspect of the shop. He started his career as a football coach and applied his skills at the University of Louisville, Morehead State University and the University of Kansas before arriving in Houston in 1977, where he was defense coordinator at Rice University. “That’s what brought us to Houston,” he said, “and I even had an opportunity to go to Ohio State to coach but my wife said no to that move. All in all I spent eight years in college-level coaching.” Semary said he was not happy in a life of coaching and he wanted more time for his art. One day they decided to inquire about the availability of The Shadow Box in Kingwood. They purchased the local art gallery, which was owned by Harvey Kruger, in 1978. Vince put college football coaching behind him and concentrated on the business of art. Having earned a master’s degree in Art Education while at Morehead State, he became an art teacher and applied his teaching skills to help them financially while Susan worked in the gallery/shop. He taught students at Kingwood Middle School and later taught art for 12 years at MacArthur High School. Through the years, the Shadow Box moved to four different locations. The first shop was located on Kingwood Drive where Steinmart is now found. “We were next door to Merle Norman and there was Pop’s Restaurant, Jewels by Thomas and the Gifts and Glass shop,” said Vince. They later moved the shop to the River Point Shopping Center, which is currently where Lowe’s is located. “At that time there was the Jeweler’s Bench, a teaching supply store, a Chinese restaurant and a religious book store in that shopping strip,” he said. “Business took off at that location. We had Molly Webb working with us and she later started Webb Gallery.” The Semarys had purchased a small private piece of property on Loop 494 for their third location. Unfortunately, that property was burglarized and set on fire at a time when their business was uninsured. They did not give up. After the disaster, Vince found a job with Finger Furniture and worked there briefly before he decided to go back into teaching and was hired by the Aldine School District. Semary is a professional artist and his art and murals can be seen throughout the Kingwood, Humble and Atascocita areas in businesses and personal homes. The Shadow Box is a full custom frame shop which specializes in conservation framing, needlework, shadow boxes and multi-design specialty matting. It is the exclusive outlet for Kingwood Prints. His artwork includes commission work of all kinds in watercolors, acrylics, pencil and pen drawings. “When The Good Oil Days Festival was started in Humble, I was given an opportunity to make my art known. They used one of my original paintings to promote the festival,” Semary said. “The McKays (Humble mayor and his wife) told stories to me of how life used to be in the Humble area and all of it is reflected in my Good Oil Days artwork. After that, I was commissioned to do many murals in local restaurants and private homes as well. One of my murals was on the wall of Amedeo’s Restaurant for years. I also painted murals for Bear Branch and Elm Grove Elementary schools. My last mural was for J. Christopher’s Restaurant in Atascocita.” The fourth and current location of The Shadow Box is in the Northpark Plaza Shopping Center where they moved in 2003. Vince offers art classes for adults and children at the gallery where customers may sign up on a monthly basis for water color and drawing lessons. “We love this location and would love to see more walk-in traffic,” said Susan. “We have a lot of nice artists featured in the gallery. Currently, we have Marsha Landers our pottery artist and Bob Lawless a woodcrafter. Rick Clark is my blown glass artist and Michael Atchison does photography. Mary Claire Herman does original pastels and Ran DeBord creates original contemporary paintings. Linda Butler works with soft sculpture and Gary Bailey, N.S.A., paints original watercolors. And, of course, my husband Vince Semary.” Susan was working in a frame shop in Morehead, KY, when she first met Vince. Married 44 years in February, they have two children and two grandchildren, all living in the Kingwood area. She runs the shop and takes care of all the ordering. Occupying a large space in the shop is computer hardware and software called the “Wizard,” which is used to cut specialized mats. A process which previously could take all day is now done in a short time. “When people spend their hard-earned money with me, I’m going to give them the very best I can give. I love it when people come in to shop and take their time finding peace in their day. It doesn’t cost anything to browse. I love what I do – absolutely love it,” Susan said. The Shadow Box is located at 23858 Highway 59 N., Kingwood. For more information concerning custom framing, original artwork, commission artwork, and art lessons call 218-358-4053 or visit www.theshadowboxgallery.biz. Photo: Susan and Vince Semary

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