New art gallery and picture framing business to open in Chesterton

A new art gallery and picture framing business is coming to downtown Chesterton.

Ancillaerie is opening at 109 S. Calumet Road. The business specializes in high-quality custom picture framing and showcases the work of local and regional artists.

The Duneland Chamber of Commerce will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening celebration at 4:30 p.m. June 20.

The classically trained artists Kristina Knowski and Aaron Melendez started the business. Its name is a veritable thesaurus, playing off ancillary, an adjective that means providing support; aerie, a high-perched nest for eagles or other birds or prey; and ancilla, an aid helping master something difficult.

Knowski was valedictorian at the American Academy of Art in Chicago and began picture framing in 2011. She went on to work at Framing Concepts in Chesterton in 2015. She’s a fine artist involved with Indiana Audubon and the Indiana Dunes Birding Festival who specializes painting birds in watercolor. A longtime picture framer for fellow artists, she decided to open her own frame shop this year.

Melendez is a Region native who graduated from the American Academy of Art after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. He’s also an artist who exhibits around the Region.

They’ve worked for more than a decade in the framing industry and aim to provide custom frames of the highest aesthetic using superior craftsmanship, high-quality design and conservation-focused methods. They want to help people enjoy, cherish and protect their art as much as possible.

Ancillaerie plans to work closely with local artists, arts groups and creative professionals. It will exhibit artists in its gallery space, rotating its exhibits regularly and often celebrating nature as an artistic muse.

It’s joining downtown Chesterton, which is a cultural hub that’s also home to the Chesterton Art Center, the Holly Jackson Art Studio, Shaking Arts and Moth Wing Studio.

The public is invited to the grand opening, which will include refreshments and a reception with the artist Marjory Crawford.

Ancillaerie will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

For more information, visit, call 815-546-0856 or find the business on Facebook or Instagram.

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