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  • Gig Harbor Living Local

Enhancing Your Artwork with the Art of Custom Framing

Gig Harbor’s custom framing expert

By Jillian Chandler

Last month, after much anticipation, Dennis Arneson was officially able to open the doors of Water Edge Gallery and Framery on June 9. Though the business has been a staple in Gig Harbor for the past 27 years, Dennis purchased the space back in February, dedicating his time to renovating and polishing up the interior before reintroducing it to the public as his own. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit, and Dennis’ excitement in his new business venture turned to dismay, as his doors would remain shuttered and he unable to provide his services to the community. Fortunately, life is slowly beginning to return to normalcy, and Dennis is thrilled to finally be able to welcome eager customers inside, share his expertise and assist them with their custom framing needs. He is ready to carry the torch and continue the success Water’s Edge has achieved for nearly three decades.

One day last winter, while he and his wife were walking through Downtown Gig Harbor, Dennis had been pondering the idea of working part time. They passed by Waters Edge, and as Dennis recalls, “I thought, ‘What the heck?’ and went in to see if the owner may need some part-time help framing.” The owner was not interested in hiring Dennis, but he was in fact looking to sell his shop!

“I told my wife about it, and we put our heads together, and she said, ‘Buy it! Jump outside the box and go for it!’ I surf, and I know that when I have been in the water and I see a pretty large, scary wave coming at me in a clean-up set, I have a choice: either paddle around it, duck dive out of the way, or turn around and go for it. I guess I considered the opportunity a clean-up set of sorts, so I thought about it and decided to turn around and take off.”

Today, Dennis is the proud owner of Waters Edge Gallery and Framery, centrally located on Pioneer Way and Harborview Drive. In addition to being a custom framing craftsman, he is also a published commercial illustrator and painter (you can view his work online at Being an artist himself, he says, “I have a feel for art and what it means to a client.”

Before moving to the Pacific Northwest, Dennis lived in Southern California and at one time worked managing the high-end frame shop Gallerie in Westwood. “I sat with clients, many of them celebrities (Raquel Welch, Stephen Stills, Shawn Cassidy, Bobby Darin, to name a few), who were very particular about how their art was framed and how it looked, and high profile athletes such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar,” he says. “I learned my framing chops at this gallery.”

At Water Edge Gallery and Framery, Customers will find a beautiful selection of artwork highlighting local, regional and national artists in the gallery. Small gift items are available, such as magnets, funny metal characters built around wine bottles, greeting cards and little 4x4 tiles with characters on them; perfect souvenirs for both visitors and locals who make their way into the shop. And then there is the beautiful custom framing work that Dennis is most proud and passionate to provide his clients.

“A client will bring in a piece of artwork they want framed, and we will sit down together and come up with the best solution for the piece, making sure the frame doesn’t overwhelm the art,” says Dennis. “The frame is there to enhance and show off the art, not detract from it or make the art ponderous.”

He finds fulfillment in the path he has chosen, witnessing the smile on people’s faces when they see what they’ve created together.

Dennis is grateful for the life he continues to build here in Gig Harbor with his wife since moving here in 2016. “I thank Creator every day for the gift of my life and the family we have,” Dennis smiles. He’s witnessed over and over again the Gig Harbor community coming together and supporting one another, and shares that “The community and business community seems to have the same heartbeat and works together.”

Dennis looks forward to working with you, whether it’s that treasured painting or old family photo that deserves a frame worthy of their value, he will guide you in the process of choosing the perfect frame, and enhance your artwork with the art of custom framing.

Waters Edge Gallery and Framery, LLC 7808 Pioneer Way Gig Harbor, Washington 98335 253.858.7449

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