By Shana Siren Kempton
At the end of a quiet, wooded road awaits a delightful, moss green abode which beckons the curious, the wary, the seeking, and the art-loving. Home to Mia and Vince Fallis, Vincenzo’s Art Grotto is an enclave of high quality framing and art preservation. Nestled on an unassuming street in the Holmes Hills neighborhood of Belton and bordering the Village of Loch Lloyd, Vincenzo’s is a destination – an artist’s date for oneself and for one’s treasured pictures and collections.
Boasting over 600 choices in frames, Vincenzo’s offers archival quality mats, glass, and acrylic, all cut in house. “Our purpose, when we frame, is to protect, preserve and teach people the proper ways of caring for their artwork for it to last lifetimes,” says Vince.
“Art should be enjoyed,” says Mia, whose walls are filled with her repousse metalwork, watercolors, and denim work alongside Vince’s encaustic photography. “The finishing touch is the framing. It’s like putting jewelry on – that final piece of the artwork is the framing. That makes or breaks it.”
Drawing inspiration from travels to Italy, the term “art grotto” harks back to a traditional grotto which is a cave-like structure filled with relics and artwork for devotion. Vincenzo’s Art Grotto offers framing and art coaching, but it, too, is filled with artwork created by the founding couple as well as a palpable sense of devotion the two have for one another. They created this space together. It is a place of inspiration as they share their story and listen to yours.
It’s perfectly fitting that Mia and Vince first met at a frame shop. Mia had masses of artwork ready for presentation, and master framer Vince gave them the finishing touch. “We met, came together, and one finished out the other person…two making one,” says Mia.
With Mia as inspiration, Vince spent two years completing his master’s thesis in art at UMKC. He created “Angels of Inspiration: a Tribute to Cancer Survivors.”
Mia, who has battled cancer since the age of 14 and who currently lives with stage IV carcinoid cancer, is a fighter. “I’ve had a long journey and I’ve had to hold on a long time,” says Mia with conviction.
She and ten other cancer survivors were photographed by Vince in the very studio that later became the art grotto. As earthly angels to others diagnosed with cancer, they dressed in wings to embody one of four distinct angels. Vince utilized encaustic photography for the final pieces which were then exhibited throughout the city and are now on display at Vincenzo’s.
“Everything we do for art is not typical…it’s different,” says Mia. The Fallis’ invite the public onto their road less traveled for respite and inspiration and to preserve or make new memories with their framing expertise. “Everything is spiritual,” says Mia. “You can’t be open about it with everybody but it leaks out and that’s our life.”
Vincenzo’s welcomes the public to their open house on November 5, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Bring in artwork and ideas or stop by for inspiration and a taste of Mia’s fresh baked pecans. Visitors will receive 10 percent off their first order. Vincenzo’s Art Grotto is located at 112 W. 165th Street. Visit http://www.vincenzosartgrotto.com or call 816-738-1986 for more information.