Business Profile – Fine art, lot of heart


The sun is shining on Oerth Fine Art & Fabulous Gifts, the happy-splashy yellow house at 420 S. Washington. When purchased, Old Towns only free-standing Victorian house was gray and forgotten, inhabited by a law firm for 20 years. It needed cheering up, said Gallery Director and co-owner Linda Oerth Musselman. Now bedecked in a cacophony of color which hearkens back to its Victorian preferences, the house is pure pleasure, home to an impressive eclectic collection of arts and crafts. 

[The house is] quirky like us, said Lorraine Oerth Kirstein of the not-too-big space, which she claims has a comforting quality and the ability to make guests feel good, whether they are enamored with the hand-crafted kitchen lamp with a cheese-grater shade ($110), a pewter ornamented mirror or mobile (about $50) or are upstairs wandering through the fine framed art exhibit (starting at $100).

A different kind of gallery, Oerth is the reflection of three sisters, explaining the LL & P on their logo. Lorraine works from her basement pottery studio and relishes in being described as the mad artist type. Im the creative mind, said Lorraine, and Im not even good at the details [of running a business]. We all know where our strengths are. Covering the floor of one entire room, a floor mural of complex tile work, with a tree of life scene anchoring the center like an area rug, reveals her astonishing creativity. When you get into your late 50s, you feel that time is running out. Im much more aggressive about trying new things than when I was younger, expanding myself, instead of resting on my laurels. Accordingly, Lorraine is focused on building up a robust tile-by-design business.  

Besides painting, Linda contributes clarity to do the business of merchandizing and artist-relations, unsurprising given her engineering and MBA background. Less visible in the daily grind is sister-partner Pamela Oerth Kolesnik, president of Oerth Association, Inc., a local executive search firm.

Oerth made its presence official with a recent open house gala where friends, neighbors and art students mingled with the featured exhibit artist Ross Merrill, a well-known local talent whose oils never tire of area landscapes. Working in the open-air, Merrill stands distinguished in his abilities to interpret nature in its true light.

Free to the public, the exhibit runs through Oct. 28.