Art Experience Inc. Opens in Hampton

By Lara Bricker

Hampton Union Friday, November 28, 2008

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
Marilyn Rishkofski works on a frame at her new location for her business, Art Experience, Inc., at 17 High Sreet in Hampton.
[Courtesy Photo]
Hampton resident moves Art Experience Inc. to High Street

HAMPTON -- For some people, the thought of walking into a custom frame shop can be overwhelming.

They worry about the cost of framing or perhaps don't know where to begin when selecting a frame or mat. Marilyn Rishkofski hopes her new frame and art shop on High Street in Hampton, Art Experience Inc., will change that. The business itself isn't new for Rishkofski, who has more than 25 years of experience in framing and previously worked out of space in Amherst and Bedford.

But after commuting from Hampton to her shop in Amherst for 12 years, the 65-year-old former art teacher decided it was time to move her operations closer to home.

"As I got older, it was wearing thin," she said of her two-hour daily commute back and forth to work. "And I had listened to every book on tape from the Lane Memorial Library."

She calls space at 17 High St. home now and is enjoying being part of downtown Hampton after leasing space in a strip mall that was not in the heart of the community.

"I really wanted to have my business in the community I lived in," she said.

Rishkofski got into framing after she realized she wasn't going to make a living selling her paintings.

"I think framing is very creative and it needs to enhance the artwork," she said. "I think framing is just as creative (as painting); you're able to design the frame job and you really see a finished product. When I retire, I'll start painting again."

Her shop is a combination of a framing gallery and art gallery, with a number of limited-edition prints by nationally known artists. Rishkofski is known for her work designing shadow boxes as well as her needlework framing, but she is open to any framing project.

"In 26 years, I have framed everything you can think of," she said.

Art Experience carries a selection of prints from Peter Sculthorpe, who is known for his landscapes, which are inspired by his home state of Pennsylvania. "If you travel around New Hampshire, you feel like you see the same things," Rishkofski said of Schulthorpe's landscapes.

She works with all of the major print publishers and carries work of artist Edward Gordon as well prints from local oil painter Herb Lucas, who focuses on New England landscapes. "He's more New England than anyone else I carry," she said.

Photographs from Michael Cirelli, who lives in the Merrimack area, are also available through the shop.

"The images that I carry are very traditional," she explained. "They are traditional scenes. The artists that I carry, their work is very realistic."

Rishkofski, who previously taught art at the University of New Hampshire in Manchester, brings her background as a teacher to her work at the shop, where she aims to educate her customers about framing.

"What I'm trying to do is really provide an atmosphere where they come in, they're comfortable, and make it easy for them to go through the process," she said.

She offers frames in all price ranges and works to help customers make their own decisions about their frame and mat choice with some guidance on what might look good. Each customer receives one-on-one attention from Rishkofski, who said she asks a lot of questions about their preferences and decorating style during the consultation.

A framing job can take from two to three weeks, but Rishkofski said she always tries to accommodate customers who might need a rush job if it is possible.

The gallery will play host to about four special events throughout the year with artists, who will be on hand to discuss their work and speak with customers. Rishkofski is also working to plan workshops for customers, including an upcoming one designed to help people learn how to hang their art for the best display. She often has people ask questions about how high to hang art, owing to the different height of people in the family, as well as how to light up their work once it is on display in the home.

"It's teaching what I've learned throughout the years and giving them some ideas," she said.

Frames range from basic and more economical metal frames to more museum-quality wooden frames. "There's something here for everyone," she said. "I frame posters as well as $5,000 prints."

While some of her friends questioned why Rishkofski was venturing into a new business at age 65, she said she is excited about the new space and looking forward to growing. "After all these years, I still love what I'm doing. I'm not ready to retire, not yet."

Frame it

Art Experience Inc., is located at 17 High St., Hampton. Contact them at 926-0443 or