by Sarah A. Peterson-Camacho
For more than four decades, Allard’s Art has been a mainstay for Fresno’s vibrant arts scene, and General Manager Sheryl Johns has been onboard through it all. Here she discusses with Kings River Life the past, present, and future of Allard’s Art.
KRL: How long has Allard’s been open?
Sheryl: In 1975, our family purchased Art Johnson Artist Materials from Art and Roxie Johnson, and moved our art store from the Tower District to Clinton and Blackstone. At that time, we changed the name to Allard’s. Allard was our Dad’s middle name! Quickly outgrowing this location in 1983, we moved to Blackstone & Griffith, and in 2005, to our current location at the southeast corner of Blackstone & Barstow.
KRL: What types of products do you offer?
Sheryl: We offer art, craft, drafting supplies and equipment, custom picture framing and matting, fine writing instruments and inks, calligraphy, science fair and presentation supplies, printmaking and sign supplies, children’s art supplies, art “how to” and coloring books, and so much more! We also have the largest fine pen department in the Valley!
KRL: What types of classes do you offer?
Sheryl: At this time we are offering twenty-four different classes, plus two Kids’ Art Camps! Laura Fraedrich is our in-house artist who teaches a majority of our classes. Other local artists, including Hilda Vandergriff (watercolor and Chinese brush painting), Maxine Fuentes (alcohol dye), and Shelley Borcherding (modern calligraphy), teach here as well. We also hold Open Houses where our instructors are present with their samples and flyers, and are available to answer questions.
KRL: How does one go about signing up for classes at Allard’s?
Sheryl: We take sign-ups for our classes in person and over the phone. An exciting change we are working on finalizing is online sign-ups; we hope to go live this month!
KRL: Are there art demonstrations?
Sheryl: Yes, there are! These generally happen when we introduce new product categories. We also offer lecture/demos that are done by the manufacturers’ artists such as Daniel Smith Watercolors, Liquitex, Winsor & Newton, Gamblin, and Golden.
KRL: What are your bestsellers?
Sheryl: Oh, that’s a tough question! We sell all the art basics: drawing and painting – from the supplies, tools, canvases, papers, and equipment to drafting, children’s art supplies and books, collage, science fair project boards, screen printing, paint markers and sprays, and sign supplies. And then there’s custom framing. We’re mostly a custom shop, but we do ‘while you wait’ services as well such as cutting mats and glass. As for our Fine Pen department, for handwritten notes, journaling, and manuscripts…more and more people are rediscovering the art of writing!
KRL: What is your busiest time of year?
Sheryl: Spring, fall, and the holidays.
KRL: Do you offer student discounts?
Sheryl: Yes we do! As well as educator and military discounts. We also offer everyday discounts, within the major art supply categories like Canvas, Paint, Brushes and Pads, as well as in Picture Framing.
KRL: Is there a mailing list?
Sheryl: Yes! We send regular emails based on the lists people choose at sign-up, and can easily be changed by clicking the link in any of our emails. Sign-ups can be done online on our website, as well as our Facebook page. In-store sign-ups are easy–customers can sign up using our iPads!
KRL: Are there any special summer events/sales going on?
Sheryl: We offer regular sales. Our current sale is the ‘Stock Up & Save Sale,’ which runs through June 30. Special summer events include two Kids’ Art Camps!
For more information on Allard’s and their products, classes, and events, please visit www.allardsart.com, as well as their Facebook page. Allard’s is located at 5350 N Blackstone Ave.(S E Corner of Blackstone @ Barstow) in Fresno, CA.