A Compassionate Part of the Art Community
On March 12, 2020, the state of Maine had its first confirmed case of the coronavirus. The first death in Maine from the virus was March 27. Within a week, my grandmother had caught it and was in the hospital on a respirator. She died on April 6.
We finally held her service almost exactly six months later, on October 4. It was her wedding anniversary with my grandfather. I do not remember ever seeing my grandfather cry before.
After her service, which was beautiful and heartfelt, my family gathered outside at my father’s house. We still were not able to touch, but we could at least be together.
I went with my father to pick up pizza for everyone. He parked the car and pointed to the shop next door. The sign read, “Elizabeth Moss Fine Art Gallery and Framing.”
“That shop has our family’s business for the rest of our lives,” my father stated.
My grandfather had taken my grandmother’s photo to Elizabeth to have it framed. When he picked it up, and she learned it was for his wife’s memorial, she immediately reimbursed his charge.
That is the kind of person that Elizabeth Moss is. She is kind, and sweet, and caring, and that comes through in our interview.
Her shop is located in a Falmouth shopping center between Foreside House of Pizza and Southern Maine Hearing.
Elizabeth is fashionable, with blonde hair and large feather earrings. She wears a beautiful beige mask decorated with delicate butterflies.
She has a passion for the art she surrounds herself with, as well as the people that she works with. Twice during the interview people come into the shop. One is Robert Wieferich, an artist she represents, and Elizabeth helps him carry his artwork to his vehicle outside. I catch a glimpse of his work, and it is breathtaking.
The second people to enter are Dorothy Milliken and her daughter. Dorothy has been making cross-stitch pictures for years, and Elizabeth frames them all. Elizabeth works with Dorothy through the framing process and helps her pick out just the right details to accentuate her cross-stitch cat picture.
When I tell Elizabeth about what her actions meant to my family, she insists it was just a little gesture. But when you are in mourning, and you want to honor your loved one, little gestures mean everything.
“We’re happy just to do it as a gift of sympathy,” she says.
Elizabeth understands what it is like to lose close family. Her mother passed away March 1, and she was able to have a celebration of her life on March 5. “And then a week later the whole country closed down,” she says.
She tells me she felt so fortunate to be able to go through that process. She feels for the families who are unable to be with their loved ones and are unable to have a service. “There’s a lot of people suffering right now in a lot of different ways.” Elizabeth wants to do even the smallest thing to alleviate some of that suffering.
“I love the community that I am a part of here,” she says, and adds that she has developed a relationship with her artists and clients. “The artists that I represent—I value them personally, not just for their art. I create long-term relationships with artists and with customers.”
Elizabeth’s blue eyes light up as she talks about art. “Great art holds a piece of the soul of its maker,” she says. “I’m an advocate of original artwork.”
“You actually have a similar physiological response when you look at a painting of the ocean or the lake . . . it’s a similar response, chemically, to seeing it in person,” she tells me. “And if you connect with it, it’s similar to falling in love. There’s a dopamine reaction.”
When I suggest that the business is her passion project, Elizabeth insists it is more than that. “It’s my lifestyle,” she says. “And I’m so fortunate to have an incredible lifestyle doing what I love. Living where I love. Working with the most creative, talented people.”
Elizabeth’s desire to work with art goes back to when she was in high school. “When I was in high school, I loved fashion. And then I fell in love with art as well.” She grew up in Maryland and spent a lot of time in national galleries and museums. “So, I wanted to either have an art gallery or work in a museum.”
After managing art galleries and receiving her master’s degree in museum studies, Elizabeth wanted to open her own gallery. She got that opportunity in 2004 when she started a framing business and art gallery with her parents. Elizabeth says she was so lucky to have that opportunity, and she enjoyed working with her parents for many years. Her father ultimately decided he did not want to continue the business and returned to the world of computer programming.
Elizabeth’s work is beautiful and high quality. She offers custom picture framing and fine art sales as well. “If people have something of value, whether it’s inherently valuable or just value in that it’s sentimental, then I’m a good person to bring it to,” she says. Elizabeth and her staff are careful with the art and knowledgeable in conservation and museum standards for art. One particular framer who works for her has more than 30 years of experience.
She has more than five hundred frames to choose from, as well as a variety of matte options. She tells me framing is a specific, deliberate process.
In addition to her framing work, Elizabeth hosts events such as artist nights, and she has an exhibition schedule. “I’m actively representing forty artists all over the United States,” she tells me.
The workspace is split into two spaces. The front is the gallery, but there is also art everywhere throughout the framing shop and her office.
The current show in her gallery is a Rockland artist named Laura Waller. Laura’s canvas paintings are portraits of her friends and family. Their bright, close-up faces decorate the walls of the gallery space.
Elizabeth also hosts artist nights, even during COVID-19. Her next art show, which starts in November and will go until February, is international artist Hunt Slonem. His highly appealing art features bright colors, shapes, and patterns. Elizabeth will be pairing with the Portland Museum of Art for this show, and it will feature video interviews on her website as well.
For more information on Elizabeth and her art gallery, visit www.elizabethmossgalleries.com.