Framers return to Forest Hills

Teri Basile (l.) and Stevie-Lyn Colaianni (r.), owners of Art World, hold a piece of art that was dropped off at their Forest Hills shop for framing. Photo by Connor Adams Sheets
By Connor Adams Sheets

Two familiar faces have returned to Forest Hills.

The “girls of Art World,” as Teri Basile and Stevie-Lyn Colaianni call themselves, have moved their custom-framing business back to its original home of more than 45 years.

Art World, a quirky framing shop with a special human touch provided by the duo, who describe the work as their passion, has returned to the neighborhood where they feel at home among their loyal customers three years after the pair moved to Atlas Park from Austin Street. It is now at 103-07 Metropolitan Ave.

Back in the store’s original hometown, Art World’s proprietors pride themselves on their craft and particularly on their commitment to customer service, a trait Basile said she inherited from her husband, Joey, with whom she co-owned the shop until his death seven years ago.

“When customers come in they sometimes say, ‘I can tell you really love what you do,’” Basile said. “It’s a good reputation, that’s our thing. We work hard and are proud of that.”

All Art World framing is done in-house by Basile and Colaianni, who also choose frames for many clients, as they say they have earned the trust to make the best selections for the individual tastes and budgets of their bread-and-butter repeat customers.

For Basile, the business has become an art form in and of itself. She says a frame and a work of art are two separate pieces and that it is critical they are matched properly in a creative way that accentuates their strengths.

“‘Starry Night’ you’ve seen so many times in just a plain gold frame. When Teri frames it, it’s like a museum piece,” Colaianni said. “She’s not afraid of color. She knows how to marry the art to the framing project.”

With about 3,000 all-wood, acid-free, museum-quality styles to choose from and prices ranging from $95 for a diploma-size frame to thousands of dollars for large paintings, Art World is one of the largest independent frame shops in the Northeast, according to Colaianni, but many customers are drawn to the store for its less conventional offerings.

The blonde pair have a distinct interest in the darker side of life, which has manifested itself in the form of a host of creepy decorations, displays and items which attract viewers and shoppers throughout the year.

“Aside from being known for being framers, we’re also known for having a penchant for the spookier side of life,” Colaianni said. “It’s like a virtual Halloween town here all year.”

Art World may be a business, and its owners are hard workers — they work long hours and weekends and have a no-sitting rule while working — but at the end of the day Basile and Colaianni say they are two best friends having a great time while filling a niche in Forest Hills.

“We have fun every day. We strive to have fun,” Colaianni said. “When people come in, we want them to feel like they’ve had a day at Disneyland.”

For more information, call 718-793-7200.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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