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The Art of Standing Out

A massive source of artwork, custom frames, on-site art classes and home décor, Ziegler Art & Frame has been a fixture of the Tulsa and Kendall-Whittier landscape for nearly 40 years.

Article
Michele Chiappetta
Photos
Marc Rains
Posted
March 28, 2018

At the corner of Admiral Place and Lewis Avenue, just north of the iconic Circle Cinema, you’ll find another icon of Tulsa’s retail history — a massive source of artwork, custom frames, on-site art classes, home decor and more. We’re talking, of course, about Ziegler Art & Frame.

A fixture in the landscape of the historic Kendall-Whittier District of Tulsa, Ziegler Art & Frame once occupied a single building. “We started in here almost 40 years ago,” says Trent Morrow, grandson of the original owner. He and his father, Alan Morrow, currently run the store. Trent serves as director of marketing and his father is the president. “We were just a small picture frame shop.”

At the time Zeigler first opened, the neighborhood was awash in cheap real estate, so Trent’s grandfather bought a property here, a property there. Two generations later, Ziegler has expanded by leaps and bounds, offering its unique custom framing among many other artistic items. And it’s also expanded literally in space — occupying about six buildings and 25,000 square feet or so. “My grandfather just built all of these buildings together into one mega-complex kind of art and frame superstore,” says Trent.

Because they can make frames to just about any specifications, Ziegler is a perfect place to visit when you need something unusual framed. (Photo: Marc Rains)
Because they can make frames to just about any specifications, Ziegler is a perfect place to visit when you need something unusual framed. (Photo: Marc Rains)

The store may be huge, but when you enter, you don’t feel overwhelmed by the massive space and multiple selections because what you notice, first and foremost, is the friendly staff. They’re happy to greet and help direct you to whatever you’re hunting for. And chances are, if it has anything to do with making your home look artistic, you’ll find it among the merchandise here.

The store began as a wholesaler, providing frames to other businesses like Michael’s and Hobby Lobby. “Somehow my grandfather got into building dollhouse furniture,” Trent explains. “That’s how he got into making miniature easels and canvases. He got into painting, so he started building his own canvases and frames and that kind of thing.”

Alan started the retail side of the business around 1980, and that side of the business took off, leading to the Ziegler Art & Frame store that people know today.

There are many choices and styles of artwork, paintings, prints and frames available for customers, many by local artists and photographers. For instance, buyers can browse the Tulsa room, which features old and new photos and images of the Tulsa landscape. Many of the prints are vintage black-and-whites. If you’re looking for something specific but don’t see it on display, just ask. The store has a database with thousands of prints they can reproduce.

The store may be huge, but when you enter, you don’t feel overwhelmed by the massive space and multiple selections because what you notice, first and foremost, is the friendly staff. (Photo: Marc Rains)
‍The store may be huge, but when you enter, you don’t feel overwhelmed by the massive space and multiple selections because what you notice, first and foremost, is the friendly staff. (Photo: Marc Rains)

More than anything else, though, Ziegler is known for crafting custom style and size frames for its customers. “Most of what we focus on is our custom framing, and we really take pride in it,” says Trent. “The work is done in a crafting area upstairs from the store, in a space that was once an old dance hall from the 1930s. We cut and join all of our frames here.”

Because they can make frames to just about any specifications, Ziegler is a perfect place to visit when you need something unusual framed, like wedding dresses and guitars. They’ve done similar work for the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa. And if you have something even more unusual to frame, stop in for a consult. They embrace challenges and enjoy figuring out how to tackle any project.

The ready-made frames section is large and popular with both locals and out-of-towners. Many of these frames are museum-ready in appearance and quality. It’s not uncommon, says Trent, for artists from as far away as Florida and Wyoming to make a trip with their artwork in U-Hauls to find the perfect frames. “We’ve had a lot of incredible artists come through here,” he says.

Ziegler also makes ready-made poster and photo frames of different sizes. If you need more frames than are currently in stock, the store can make what you need. And they offer plenty of specials and sales.

In addition to frames, Ziegler offers other eclectic, artistic pieces, gifts, home decor, high-end art, furniture, photo frames, picture lights, jewelry and other items are available. There’s an art supply section, focused largely on painting, adjacent to a spacious art studio on the property where Ziegler offers weekly art classes. Information on classes can be found on the store’s website and Facebook page.

Trent is also very involved in the rejuvenation of the Kendall-Whittier neighborhood, an area that has had its ups and downs over the years. He’s on the board for Kendall-Whittier Main Street, a nonprofit that works on enhancing the Kendall-Whittier District. Right now, the area is experiencing a decided upswing, with new businesses such as Fair Fellow Coffee, Calaveras Mexican Grill, The Beehive Lounge, and Heirloom Rustic Ales all making the neighborhood buzz with activity.

“We’ve been getting a lot of cool neighbors around here, and a lot of artists,” says Trent. “There are a lot of new artist studios and galleries.” The Tulsa Artery, an art store known for featuring local and regional artists, has space near Ziegler. And the Tulsa Girls Art School is located in the area as well.

The Kendall-Whittier neighborhood holds monthly art walks in the neighborhood on second Thursdays, starting after 5 p.m. The district’s annual Food Truck Festival is scheduled for April 7, 2018, from 11a.m.-5 p.m., at the corner of Admiral and Lewis. And during the warmer months (May to October), live bands, yoga classes, food trucks and other fun doings are scheduled to coincide with the art walks. Area businesses like Ziegler typically stay open late those nights to accommodate visitors.

LOCATOR
Ziegler Art & Frame
6 N. Lewis Ave. | Tulsa
918-584-2217
zieglerart.com
Monday-Friday: 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Sunday: Closed

July 2019 Cover