Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-07-10
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Custom frame shop has served LGBTQs for two decades
by Jake Wittich
2019-07-10

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Duran Duran's 1982 album, Rio, blasts from the record player of Wall to Wall Framing, a custom frame shop in Edgewater. The record sleeve is propped up against a bookshelf lined full with other classic records, displaying the Patrick Nagel-designed album cover as if it were hanging in a gallery.

Leif Forre, the openly gay man who owns the shop, stands at a nearby work table, drilling hangers onto the back of a framed artwork. He's surrounded by almost a dozen other pieces—a portrait of Prince, a poster for an upcoming charity and several other artworks—all in need of his custom framing.

Forre's shop, located at 5554 N. Winthrop Ave., celebrates its 20th year of business later this year. What started as a small operation in the basement of a West Loop industrial building in 1999 has now grown to a business staple in the Edgewater community.

"When I moved the shop to Edgewater 16 years ago, the neighborhood had a lot of boarded up and abandoned buildings. There weren't many businesses here, so it was kind of a rough start," Forre said. "But then a lot of the gay community started moving here, new businesses came in and my businesses really grew alongside the community."

Most of Forre's clients include artists, designers and a range of people from the neighborhood, downtown and the suburbs. He doesn't advertise, so most of his business comes from word-of-mouth, he said. In the last year alone, his business grew by about 20 percent.

In an emailed statement, Ald. Harry Osterman said commended Forre's business success, calling Wall to Wall Framing a "an anchor" in the neighborhood's business district.

"[Forre] has contributed to the areas increased vibrancy and safety, and his business brings new people to our community," Osterman said. "Leif contributes to many important organizations that serve and support the LGBTQ community, leading by example. I look forward to working with Leif for another 20 years."

Forre has consistently used his business to support the LGBTQ community, donating his services to LGBTQ organizations such as Chicago House, TPAN, Howard Brown, The Legacy Project and Heartland Alliance, where he volunteers at the Edgewater food pantry every Thursday evening.

"You have to give back to the community," Forre said. "When you reach a stage in life where it's been good to you, you need to give back. I need to help with other organizations and make sure that I'm using my business to help the LGBT community."

Lori Cannon, founder and Northside Food Program coordinator of the Heartland Alliance, said she met Forre shortly after he moved to Chicago from a small town in Iowa in 1991. He was new to the city and looking to get involved with Open Hand Chicago, an in-home meals program for people diagnosed with AIDS that Cannon co-founded in 1988.

"I always thought his phraseology was unique for a young man, but he said he wanted to be part of 'a mission that offers good intentions,'" Cannon said. "He came to my program with this larger-than-life personality and just rolled up his shirt sleeves, then got to work stocking shelves and serving clients."

Cannon said Forre even bought a record player for Heartland Alliance's Vital Bridges Food Program.

"Every week, he comes in with his carrying case full of vintage albums," she said. "It'll be an Ella Fitzgerald homage, some early Aretha Franklin or '70s rock. He's got a very eclectic, like himself, collection of music, fashion and frames."

Cannon commended Forre's long history of charity work and giving back to the LGBTQ community. She said he's always offered his framing as a gift to community organizations' black-tie events, fundraisers or silent auctions.

"Over the last two decades, I've seen his shop transform from downtown to where he's at in Edgewater, but he's always generously donated his superior and artistic work," Cannon said. "It bespeaks a young gentleman who's not just a good businessman and talented trades professional, but a very kind and generous person."


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

THEATER Strange Heart Beating 2019-07-16 - Playwright: Kristin Idaszak At: Cloudgate Theatre at the Frontier, 1106 W. Thorndale Ave. Tickets: CloudgateTheatre.com; $5-$45. Runs through: July 28 There's potential for ...


Gay News

'Hedwig' remaster at Music Box starting July 19 2019-07-13 - Director/co-writer/star John Cameron Mitchell's 2001 musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch will open in a new 4K DCP remaster at the Music Box ...


Gay News

Cell Block parties to benefit HIV services 2019-07-13 - Cell Block, 3702 N. Halsted St., is holding a series of fundraising parties to benefit HIV services. The new owners of Cell Block—a ...


Gay News

TMA CEO Stuart aims to promote diversity 2019-07-11 - Scott Stuart, the CEO of Turnaround Management Association ( TMA ), told Windy City Times that he is passionate about diversity. "We ...


Gay News

ART Scholars talk queer representation, identity in 'Community' panel 2019-07-11 - What does it mean to be queer? A new art exhibition explores the past, present and future of queerness. "About Face: Stonewall, Revolt ...


Gay News

ART Darling Shear on artistic journey, making history 2019-07-07 - Mixed-media artist Darling Shear will become the first transgender artist to receive a grant from the Chicago Dancemakers Forum at the organization's annual ...


Gay News

Raven Theatre names new artistic producer 2019-07-01 - Raven Theatre has announced the promotion of Cole von Glahn to the position of artistic producer, effective immediately. He had previously served ...


Gay News

Lakeside Pride takes part in Loop musical parade 2019-07-01 - Performers from the LGBTQ organization Lakeside Pride Music Ensembles marched through the Loop with close to 100 other volunteer musicians in commemoration of ...


Gay News

Mayor spotlights LGBTQ+ small-business owners 2019-06-27 - On June 26, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection ( BACP ) launched the first ...


Gay News

Bipartisan Stonewall bill introduced in Congress 2019-06-26 - On June 26, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin ( D-Wisconsin ), Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer ( D-New York ) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.