Ever since artist Scott Walling relocated to Haliburton County in 2015, he’s dreamed about finding a way to serve and support an arts community he says has given him so much.

Now, he gets to do just that three days a week after taking ownership of Haliburton Framing and Photo. Walling purchased the Highland Street store from former owner, Luke Schell, in January and has spent the past month putting his own spin on the long-tenured operation.

“It was just too good of an opportunity to pass up,” Walling told The Highlander. “I had been talking to Luke for a while about the space, and what he was going to do with it when he retired… as an artist, I’ve always been so enamoured with framing. It almost felt like this was meant to be, like the next natural step in my evolution.”

While Walling, who was born and raised in Peterborough, was only intending staying in the community for a few months after moving north to take some classes at the Haliburton School of Art + Design, he kept finding reasons to stick around. After finishing his third program at the college, he was hired to manage the bookstore and creative centre, a job he maintains on a parttime basis.

Soon after, Walling found himself volunteering with organizations such as the Haliburton Sculpture Forest and Arts Council Haliburton Highlands. He bought a home in the area and opened his own art studio.

“I just felt an immediate sense of belonging in Haliburton. It was the college that brought me here, but the community that made me stay,” he said.

It’s been smooth sailing for Walling so far – while this is his first venture into entrepreneurialism, he’s found he has a knack for centering in on a customer’s wants and needs. He’s enjoyed working closely with people on some personal projects, like creating a photo album for a family of a recently-deceased pet, building a stylish, custom-fit six-foot by four-foot frame for a painting an artist had spent months perfecting, and breathing fresh life into a vintage frame that had been damaged in a house fire.

No matter the product – whether a work of art, vintage poster, photograph, or memorabilia, Walling feels anything can be improved with a good frame.

“By framing something, you’re really taking pride in whatever it is you want to show off. It’s almost like the finishing piece,” Walling said.

He also offers matting, glass repair, laminating, and mounting services. He’s maintaining the photography studio, and can also do passport photos.

As for future plans, Walling said he wants to introduce a ‘starving artist’ corner, offering framing supplies to students and up-andcomers at a discounted price, seeing it as his way of giving back to the community

“This town has been so unbelievable with me, whether it was providing me with opportunities over the years, or even just stopping in and calling at the business here, congratulating me for taking over,” Walling said. “Haliburton is home, and getting to take over and run this business, it’s just been the best experience so far.”

Haliburton Framing and Photo is located at 177 Highland St. unit 1 and is open Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit haliframesphotos.com.