In the past few years, new galleries and homegrown arts efforts sprouted in the area. The city offers creative folks an inexpensive place to live that's situated within a few hours of several big cities, he said.
"I wanted to help promote it and be part of it," Vestal said. "I wanted to help give emerging artists ... a place where they can show their work."
So, last fall, Vestal started featuring art at his business - Office Furniture Outlet in York. In May, he hosted the first art reception.
A shop that has been outfitting commercial and residential offices in southcentral Pennsylvania since 1976 might seem like an odd place to view art, but the answer is in the walls.
"We use the horizontal space," Vestal said. "Friends have told me I should be doing more with my walls. We have 15 artists with 80 works. I can do 10 times that. Commercial spaces need art also."
He estimated that about 5,000 square feet are being used as an art gallery. There is an additional 10,000-square-foot of space in the warehouse showroom.
As the name of the outlet's art offering - Second Saturday Art Gallery - suggests, the business hosts a free after-hours party the second Saturday of each month. Three months ago, the gallery added an open mike element to highlight local musicians.
The all-ages events include refreshments and raffles that support a different charity each month. In the past year, the gallery has donated to Breyante Thompson, an area boy with medical needs; the Children's Home of York; Crispus Attucks; the York County Food Bank; and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.
At first, Vestal had to seek out artists and attendees for Second Saturday Art Gallery. Now, about 50 to 60 people attend. Each month brings in new people who are connected to the charity, artists or musicians. Vestal said a core group of regulars has also grown.
"I'm very pleased with how it's come out," he added. But he wants to do more.
One of his goals is to integrate art with business at Office Furniture Outlet. Vestal said that when people come in to redesign their offices, they can get art and style help on site.
Vestal said one of the gallery's artists, Doug Altland, created four patterns of digital art in different color palettes. With those, customers can pick art to match their space, and Altland can customize pieces to fit their empty walls.
- ERIN McCRACKEN,
More businesses open to art
The Framers and Framers' Gallery, 3780 E. Market St., Springettsbury Township
The framing store hosted the grand opening for its newly renovated gallery in July.
According to staffer Kim Yingling, the gallery space was formerly a storage area. The building was originally a grain mill dating back to the 1800s. Owners Dave and Shelly Jacobs have tried to preserve the space while remodeling it.
A few years ago, the shop also started displaying art outside the framing business. At first, Yingling said it was to test a type of weather-resistant paper. When the store took the art down to paint the building, Yingling received calls from folks asking where it went.
The gallery's second show, on display now, features photo realism pieces and illustrations by Denny Bond of Lancaster and his son Corey, who works as an assistant in Jeff Koons' New York City studio. One is of Santa Claus. Other pieces by Laurie Brown are rolled paper art.
"It's very edgy for York County," Yingling said.
The Framers and Framers' Gallery is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday to Friday and 10 a.m. to
4 p.m. Saturday.
For details, call 717-757-1764 or visitwww.framersgallery.com.
Bistro 19, 19 N. George St., York
The White Rose City has seen more art studios and galleries open in the last year. But folks can also view art when they dine and drink.
Blue Moon, 361 W. Market St., features pieces from an artist of the month. Bistro 19 started to show local art about three months ago.
Manager Ben Salerno said that artists can bring works to Bistro and if the art pass staff approval, they get a price tag and go on display.
Right now, most of the work on the walls is by a few local artists and Bistro employees. About
10 pieces have been sold so far, Salerno added. If a customer is interested in purchasing a piece, he or she can ask the bartender. Be prepared to pay cash.
"We're always looking for different artists," Salerno said. "It helps out the community a little bit."
Bistro is open seven days a week. Lunch and dinner are served Monday through Saturday. Brunch and dinner are offered Sunday. The bar is open daily and into the late-night hours.
For details, call 717-845-1900 or visit www.bistro19york.com.
If you go
Office Furniture Outlet and Second Saturday Art Gallery hosts its monthly gallery reception 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday at 519 N. Franklin St., York.
The free event will feature work from 15 regional artists and an all-ages open mike hosted by Ronn Benway. There will be door prizes, raffles and complimentary refreshments. Those who donate clothing or supplies for infants will receive two-for-one raffle tickets.
Owner Ron Vestal said he's hoping to attract more artists and is also looking for a marketing intern, preferably a student who wants some gallery experience.
For details, call 1-800-9-OFFICE or visit www.offfurn.com.
This month's gallery reception will benefit Human Life Services, a local organization that helps women facing unplanned pregnancies. For details, visit www.humanlifeservices.org.