Spring is here!


Time for Baseball, Golf and Skyhooks

Golf & Baseball



The Skyhook – or balance toy has been around for centuries. In the 19th century these toys were commercially made – typically in the form of a man riding a horse or sailing a small boat. Today we have a lot more choices.


Like these two ladies. That’s Madame Butterfly on the left – the beautiful Cic-Cio San is the lead character from the famous opera by Puccini that debuted in 1907. And that’s The beautiful Ethiopian princess Aida on the right the star from the famous opera by Verdi that debuted in Cairo, Egypt 1871. Pretty sophisticated, right?


Of course there’s fun stuff too – like these daredevils.

It is not only a whimsical toy, but is also useful in teaching the laws of physics. The scientific principle illustrated by this simple toy is that you can balance an object on a point if the object’s center of gravity is directly below the point of support. The balance toy manipulates the center of gravity so that it is no longer within the object itself but at a point in space vertically below it, and so the object seems to balance magically. When in motion many of the toys have pivoting parts that move to create a very unique toy.


Steady girl!

These are all hand crafted from recycled metal and hand painted and finished with a distressed antique patina.


Why, we even have a couple of sporty Santas too.

Stop in soon and see them in motion.

Spring is almost here

But winter seems to be holding on. Snow this morning and sun this after noon. So how about a little daydream time?

Take a look at these wonderful sand pictures by William Tabar. You flip them over and an elegant picture will slowly form. Desert landscapes or ocean seascapes – let you imagination take you away from the winter blues.

We offer these in 4 colors and 3 sizes. From 65.00 to 85.00Nance Galleries Exotic Sands ArticNance Galleries Exotic Sands OceanStop in soon to see all the new spring arrivals!


New Art Glass

New art glass pieces have arrived from Michael Trimpol. His work is stunning and well crafted.

Trimpol Vase

We have this piece in the gallery – beautiful!

quad-perf_fullAlso a dozen of his handcrafted perfume bottles in every shape and size. Like the one above and below.


All handcrafted and artist signed. Stop in soon to see the whole collection.

We are open Monday – Thursday 10am to 6pm

Friday & Saturday 10am to 5pm

Sunday Noon till 4pm.

Go Santa Go!

santa square

The weather outside is snowy and icy – so here’s a little holiday cheer!

This is a rocking tin toy – makes me smile every time I pass him in the gallery. We have a companion Skiing Moose too. If you are in the path of this massive snowstorm – stay safe.

Shop Small Saturday this Weekend

Please join our little friends for Shop Small Saturday.


We have special offers Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday too! Show your support for your community – Shop local all year long.

Christmas Open House is here!


Yep, it’s that time of year again!

Please come and join us for our 66th Holiday celebration! We have some very special prizes and treats next weekend. We love this time of year – and hundreds of you seem to agree!  Feeling lucky? We’ll have drawings every half hour with over $1000 in gifts and prizes. Heck, we’ll have a few we just randomly award to customers.

Mark Your Calendar

Saturday November 9 & Sunday November 10

Don’t forget to bring your friends – the more the merrier.

See you next weekend!


Nance Galleries History Part 4

I last left off at a critical time. September 1989 and the city had put a stop order on the building -and rightly so, I might add. My genius contractor didn’t bother with permits and zoning laws. Boy, what a pickle he put me in. So what’s next? I ask the guy in charge of the building commission. You have to have a hearing in front of the board. Great, I said when should I be there? December 21. silence…You mean I have to wait until December 21? What about my holiday shopping season? I need to get the gallery open. silence… Not gonna happen. So to say that 1989 was going to be a bleak year would be an understatement.

I give you exhibit A


And exhibit B


These were the exhibit photos for the hearing. And fortunately for us the vote was 6-1 in our favor. Yeah! Score one for the little guy!

Now time to get back to work. But first we have weather delays -then the messy legal issues with the contractor – then finding another contractor. Revising the windows and correcting some construction issues took another 10 months.  So in October 1990 we are finally fully open for business!



Try as I may, I can’t seem to find any early interior photos of the gallery.

The following are photos of the gallery before the next renovation. Next renovation? If you follow my home renovation blog at Adventures in Remodeling, you’ll know this is a pattern of mine.


This is a view of the east gallery. You enter into this space. The floors are tinted concrete with exposed aggregate that was dredged from the bottom of the Ohio river which runs next to our city. Kids have fun looking for seashells and bits of coal that are embedded in the floor.


Looking into the west gallery. The steps go up to the original farm house foundation and floor. This was decorated in the trendy hunter green and burgundy color pallet of the 1990′s.


A view back into the green room. Everything white was constructed by me. With the exception of the Victorian fretwork  over the entry.


The front of this building was originally used as a photo studio. The doors to the right of the picture was a bathroom/dressing room for photo shoots.


The trendy sponge painted dressing rooms – so hip in 1990!


One side was the bathroom – with sink, bench and wallpaper on the ceiling.


The other side a dressing area with a hunter green sink and hand made cabinets.


Since the front was originally used as a photo studio, the floors were smooth vinyl tile.


Above the studio is a loft office. That’s where I usually write these blogs. The balcony railings were made from cut down 2X4′s and all the trim was #2 pine.


The front window display area was an enclosed room. Notice the detailed crown molding trim – obsessive as usual. Everything was whitewashed. I’ll have a tutorial on whitewashing wood on the renovation blog.


The front window display area. You can see some cardboard mockups on the windows for some new renovations to come. I’ll be detailing that over on my Adventures in Remodeling blog. So hop over there to see more detailed updates on the last renovation.

We are very fortunate to have so many great friends and customers that have supported us for 66 years. As it is for most small businesses, it’s not an easy path.

But  I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Nance Galleries History Part 3

Finally we get to start on some renovations – I’ll repost this entry over at my home renovation blog Adventures in remodeling because this is a major renovation.

My father passed away in 1984, so I helped my mom run the business until 1988 when I purchased the business and land so she could have a well deserved retirement. True to my renovation genes, by July the following year renovations are well underway.


I designed this building a couple of years earlier and it was modeled loosely on a Long John’s Silver restaurant.  I’m not certain why I was attracted to that building – but we get inspiration everywhere – good or bad.

There are going to be a lot of mistakes this time. I hired a general contractor for this project for a couple of reasons. The major reason was that I was in a hospital in Houston for more than a month during this renovation. Not the best timing – but life works that way.


We had to stay in business while renovations were being completed. The plan was to remove the back of the building first, allowing the front building to be open for business while the back was constructed.


One feature in the new design was an exposed aggregate colored concrete floor in the new section. This had to be poured while the building was being built. Notice the gas price was .99 – those were the days.


Looking back towards the original building. You can see the block foundation of the original farm house. The old building is 3 foot higher than this section. This allowed entry into the new building with minimal steps.


First mistake. If you look closely, you can see the remnants of some pink concrete.  This was a pile nearly 6 feet high. It seems the concrete company miscalculated the working time for the concrete floor when color is added to the mix. It started to set up in the mixer and he had to dump it in the back yard. It was quite the attraction.


Once the back was finished the old studio was taken down. I slept on the floor in the old studio the last night it was standing – just for the memories.


The front was then rebuilt with the new design. We were able to have 3/4 of the back building open so we could stay in business.


It was now September of 1989. Rushing to get finished before the Holiday sales season.

Did someone say rush?

Well, now the problems really start to multiply. Right at this time the city came and put a stop order on the project. It seems my contractor didn’t get a demolition permit (15.00), nor did he bother with getting a variance from the area plan commission. (always required).  I had the plans drafted and got all engineering stamps and approvals from the state. All the contractor had to do was get the proper city permits. I begged the inspector to allow me to get the building under roof and sealed before winter. Thankfully, they let me.

- Hang in there -


Nance Galleries History part 2

Continuing this little history missive has been pretty interesting. I’m doing it mainly for a record for the family, as I have inherited all of these old photos and negatives. Almost every family has snapshots and vacation photos. What makes it a little more challenging for me is that my dad was a photographer and on many photo shoots he would have extra film left over and would take a couple of photos of the family or the  business. So when I would go through an envelope of negatives of a lumber mill I would find a picture of me – like this.

curt-with-cameraYou know I still have that camera – and I know how to use it. Why I even have unused flashbulbs and that little black leather photographer’s bag to my right? – I’ve got that too.


I found some additional shots of the showroom – they sure liked funky curtains back in 1952.

Fish-Tank-1952Dad was keen on fish – so he built a fancy aquarium to put in the showroom.

Kentucky-Ave-StudioAnd you knew they meant business with this office setup. Telephone, radio and pencil sharpener. I still have that desk lamp – so in style now.

As I mentioned in the last post – since Kentucky Ave / Highway 41 was the hot spot for traffic going north and south on the interstate, gas companies were anxious to purchase our property. Shell was across the street, so Gulf Oil bought our property and Dad headed east and bought this 1922 farmhouse on Green River Road and Bellemeade Avenue.


Green-River-original-sidePeople weren’t sure what to make of dad – this was the far east side at the time. We had farms next to us on the left and an abandoned turkey farm to the right. There were no businesses out here.

Living-room-finishedLike a lot of small businesses, the family would live in the back and have the business in the front. Here is an addition of a living room on the back of the old farm house. The front is getting an addition as well for the studio.


And here is the grand opening in 1958 – notice the 1950 studio car.


The new showroom – no it’s not Christmas – that’s a lolly pop tree – trendy for 1958. I still have that desk pictured in the center.


And I have this display case. My dad built all of the furniture from maple and walnut veneer – mainly because a relative owned a veneer company and he gave dad the materials. The little balloon centerpieces were individual balloons tied to sticks to give to the kids. Who might have a box of left over balloon sticks? Why, yours truly, of course.

Showroom-Green-River-RdBy early 1960′s we had a spiffy new porcelain and neon sign outside. (I still have the panels). We added custom picture framing and had a stack of art prints from New York Graphic Society. They were mounted on heavy cardboard stock and embossed with a brush stroke texture. People still bring these things in wondering if they’re the original – I have to tell them the sad truth the original is in the Louvre or the Met. 


But the sad truth is that when you are a little business, you don’t have a lot of sway with the city powers that be. Our little rural area became the business center of the city. So widening the roads was a priority. Unfortunately for us. The business on the opposite side of us on Green River Road was a major bank – and the business on the opposite side of us on Bellmeade Avenue was a major bank. So we were selected the give up 40 feet in front of our business – and 50 feet on the side. So much for promoting small business. My parents protested – but you can see the outcome above.

Don’t worry – we will survive – but this  won’t be the last time we do battle with the city.

Stay tuned.






Fall Newsletter

I’m sending this note your way.
Lot’s of new things happening in the gallery.


Although it’s been a difficult year for me physically, the gallery has never looked better!

Please stop in and see us if you’re in the neighborhood.


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