American Frame serving the arts community for more than 45 years
Tracing its roots to a Toledo contemporary art gallery in the late 1960s, American Frame has evolved and grown to serve artists and museums nationwide.
It all started when Toledo native Ron Mickel had the idea to sell a do-it-yourself metal framing kit directly to artists and put a small advertisement in the back of American Artist Magazine to promote the idea.
“After a few weeks, the post office called my dad and requested he come pick up his mail, which was full of orders,” explained American Frame President Laura Jajko. “He had found a niche that resonated with artists around the country, so he closed the gallery and put a saw in the garage and started filling orders.”
Laura, who focuses on sales and marketing, owns the second-generation woman-owned business with her sister Dana Dunbar, who is the CEO and focuses on operations and finances.
In the early 1980s, the company’s named changed from ASF Sales to American Frame and it moved to its Arrowhead Park location in Maumee, Ohio. It added wood frames, mat boards, and custom fine art printing— all products that artists, galleries, and museums need to display their artwork.
Four years ago, the company upgraded its factory showroom to include a gallery as more and more artists visited the location to see the printing and framing options in person. While many things have changed over the years, the focus on quality and custom products for artists remains the same.
“Through our website, we offer fine art printing and framing with a superior experience,” Laura said. “We try to focus on products that are beautiful, sustainable, and economical and allow for a range of styles and tastes. Framing can be like jewelry for the art or not even noticed— simply a mechanism for hanging the art on the wall.”
American Frame doesn’t just sell products. It is a strong advocate for artists and a supporter of the arts community.
“We want to be a socially responsible company that gives back to the arts,” Laura said. “One way we give back to the arts is by supporting the Museum.”
For more than 30 years, American Frame has partnered with the Toledo Museum of Art. In addition to providing framing services and supplies, American Frame sponsors TMA’s Art Minute, a weekly email and social media feature that showcases different aspects of the Museum collection for members and the public.
“We are inspired by the work we have done for the Museum, and we are continuing to elevate the type of products we offer,” Laura said. “When you spend time, money, and effort to create art, it’s important to partner with others who share your passion; people who have made the same emotional investment you have.”
This story originally appeared in ArTMAtters Vol. 16, Issue 1. ArTMAtters is the Toledo Museum of Art’s member magazine and is published three times a year.