Framing an “Historic Moment”

A word from our co-founder/partner Miguel Trelles

Clemente Soto Velez

Hey there! Thanks for keeping us busy framing your precious artwork during these uncertain times. . . Hope you and yours are healthy!

Just wanted to share with you some great news: Resident members The Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center (namely other artists like Frames and Stretchers founding partners Erick Rios and me), where we are based out of, just voted to follow up on the New York Department of Cultural Affairs directive (DCLA, who ultimately oversees The Clemente building at 107 Suffolk St.) that we transform our corporation’s structure to secure and enhance our unique status as a Puerto Rican/LatinX/multi-ethnic cultural center with a Long Term Resident Studio Program, revolving studios, two art galleries, several theaters, etc.

Five years ago, when in 2015 The Clemente encouraged me to petition DCLA’s permission to flex my studio, Trelles Studio (that’s right #303 where you have to go up all those stairs to drop off your art) to launch a micro business venture in framing with Erick Rios, little did I imagine how incredibly popular Frames and Stretchers would become in the Lower East Side and surrounding New York City art world.

In the spirit of The Clemente, Erick and I have build up a Puerto Rican owned and run framing business that caters to the needs of artists. In a short time and thanks in no small part to Erick’s marketing drive our business has grown and many important artists, galleries and even fairs from NY and elsewhere, have come to depend on us. And yet, what matters most to us is that we train and hire folks such as ourselves, emerging artists from all over, other Puerto Ricans, and other people of color and are able to pay them to get good at a very useful craft!

For many years prior to the opening of Frames and Stretchers in my studio and especially during the past three or four years The Clemente has been threatened by uncertainty due to governance issues. When the specter of the center closing recently surfaced once more, our small business (pummeled as we have all been) by the ongoing COVID crisis, the added uncertainty of the Clemente’s dicey future was starting to take its toll . . especially since we had to shut down our Gowanus stretcher factory.

No more! Thanks to my fellow artist/theater/non-profit members at the Clemente corporation, a majority of which has chosen to transform the Clemente’s structure from a membership corporation to a non membership one, Frames and Stretchers is now looking at a promising horizon where art making (and framing! course) may continue, uninterrupted for the foreseeable future.

Thanks for your continued patronage as it allows us to serve artists, galleries, non profits and fairs as well as helping us empower other artists with a craft and a salary.


Miguel Trelles
Co-founding partner
Frames and Stretchers