Established in 1985 by local legend & avid tinkerer Chris Molloy, he had a simple business philosophy: provide the finest custom framing and have fun doing it. No project was too complex for Chris, and that stands true today.
Over the years, Chris became a mentor to many artists, engineers & craftspeople interested in design, fine art, custom framing. Several members of Chicago’s Lookingglass Theatre began their working life at Alley Gallery, along with many others who pursued careers in countless areas around the world.
When Chris passed away in 2010, he entrusted his legacy to his employees. We strive every day to continue his philosophy. As working artists, we have an eye for composition and the knowledge to conserve artwork in a variety of mediums. Along with our parrot, Jessica, we continue Chris’s dedication to design, quality and fun in framing.
Jessica the Parrot
If you hear someone say “hello” as you walk in the Alley Gallery, it’s likely to be our feathered friend, Jessica. Her species is a quite mouth-full: “Double Yellow Headed Green Amazon Parrot”. She was born in captivity to a bird breeder in Santa Fe, NM in 1985. One year later she came to live at the Alley Gallery.
Jessica eats a variety of fresh organic produce, which she grazes on throughout the each day. She is especially fond of pomegranates, corn, beans, basically anything she can pull apart. Parrots are incredibly smart and need a lot of interaction, so the frameshop is a perfect place for her to meet new people and interact with us while we work. Experts say that parrots have the intelligence and emotional capabilities of a 2-year old human.
Jessica also loves children and sometimes gets jealous of their parents. She is very sweet and non-aggressive for her species, but it’s important to remember that she is a wild animal. She bonds with only one person and doesn’t like to be touched. She just loves to be looked at and to look at you!
Ross Martens & Darren Oberto,
Darren & Ross both mentored under Chris Molloy for over 10 years before taking over the business. In addition to providing brilliant custom framing, their continued dedication to their art practice has helped evolve Alley Gallery into a vibrant creative hub for Evanston’s growing local art scene. The Saw Room Exhibition Space, located inside the shop, features a rotating lineup of locally-made artwork in a sleek traditional white-wall gallery setting. Stop by every 6 weeks to see what’s new.
In addition, we also carry a large variety of posters and prints, greeting cards, handcrafted and vintage housewares. We have partnered with Art En Object, who has designed our front room with lovely, curated vintage home accoutrement.
Our Design Philosophy
The artwork and items you frame with us may become heirlooms & conversation pieces for decades to come. Our designers are guided by one philosophy: Let the artwork to do the talking, not the frame design. When your guests say, “Wow, what beautiful artwork!” rather than “Wow, what beautiful framing,” you know it’s a success.
We frame the old fashioned way and take great pride in seeing your project completed from beginning to end. Once the final touches are complete, your framed artwork is inspected by several sets of eyes before you take it home. We use the highest quality archival materials and we offer a 100% guarantee.