At Crest Hardware in Brooklyn, New York, creativity and art are part of the store’s culture. In addition to being a destination for all types of home improvement items, the store is home to the annual Crest Hardware Art Show, where shoppers see artwork from as many as 300 local artists scattered throughout the store.
So when owner Joe Franquinha attended the True Value Fall Reunion in Denver last year, it’s no surprise he was intrigued by an exhibition at the Reunion by artist Rachel Lussier, titled “The Hardware.”
Lussier, who lives in Connecticut, created nearly 100 paintings featuring everyday hardware items. She drew her inspiration and created the paintings in Lakeview True Value Hardware in her hometown of Battle Creek, Michigan. At various times throughout the past few years, she set up her easel in the store and painted among the activity of the store’s day-to-day business.
“In the store, I realized I had inadvertently placed myself with a bunch of like-minded people. Just as artists use their hands to create, people coming into a hardware store are working with their hands as well,” she says. “We spend so much of our lives in front of screens and electronic devices that we need to be reminded of the value of working with our hands. ‘The Hardware’ series of paintings reflects my preoccupation with objects designed for the human hand.”
Franquinha invited Lussier to display her work at Crest Hardware, and the exhibit took place this past February. He gave her the entire front portion of the store, where she was able to display nearly 90 percent of the total collection.
“The exhibit has made for some great dialogue with customers,” he says. “It stops people in their tracks and breaks up the monotony of another shopping trip. Creativity and community are the backbone of our store. We do a number of events throughout the year that highlight artists and promote community, including the Crest Fest art and music festival that draws more than 5,000 people on opening day,” he says.
“We were honored to showcase Rachel’s work and bring it into the type of setting that inspired it in the first place.”