Artists’ Den gallery to close in Valparaiso
By James D. Wolf Post-Tribune correspondent August 26, 2013 11:31PM
The retiring owners, Dennis and Patricia Miller have been sharing their passion for art with the Porter County community since 1972. The Artists’ Den at 203 Jefferson, Valparaiso, IN 46383 is nestled in a historic building one block from the Valparaiso Public Library. | PHOTO PROVIDED
Updated: September 29, 2013 6:23AM
VALPARAISO — Among all the celebrations of Popcorn Fest this year, there will also be a loss at 203 Jefferson St.
The Artists’ Den art gallery will close permanently on Sept. 7 as owners Dennis and Patricia Miller retire.
“It’s hard to say goodbye to our customers and hard to say goodbye to our business because it’s been 41 years of our lives, but it’s time to,” Patricia said.
The Millers are having a retirement sale on the art until the final day.
Letting it continue under someone else was not an option for them.
“We created the business and name, and as we retire and quit, the business will as well,” Dennis said.
The two originally came to Valparaiso in 1972 from the Illinois-Indiana state line area, her from Calumet City and he from Hammond.
Dennis had an associate’s degree in commercial art from Ray Vogue and a B.A. from St. Joseph’s Calumet College in business management with a fine art minor, and he’d worked in galleries and framing shops.
Patricia said she had no formal art experience but “mine is through osmosis, through being with my husband.”
Friends had invited them to move out, and they liked the city.
“It was a big decision to do that,” she said. “We were looking for a community to open the gallery we wanted to do, and we liked the look and feel of Valparaiso.”
It also seemed like a good place to raise their two young daughters while starting a business.
They chose the house on Jefferson, which was built in 1906, as the gallery, and they focused on selling art from local, national and international artists and framing it right for customers.
There were no classes, no art supplies.
“We were young, energetic, and we expected there to be problems,” Dennis said.
“It takes an awful lot of hard work and effort. And it take customers who become friends.”
Customers also came from great distances, he said.
Patricia fondly recalled seeing children’s eyes open to new art work during tours and people being introduced to trends and styles.
“We’ve just been grateful for all those who’ve come and for what they have seen,” she said.
The two plan to continue living in Valparaiso on retirement.