Framing an Elegant Legacy

Nancy Creel Retires from Negrotto’s Frame + Art

The right framing style can make your cherished photos or treasured family heirlooms sing like a beautiful songbird, which also requires a talented and eclectic touch.

  And for the last 13 years, Nancy Creel’s skillful eyes surrounded by her quirky glasses have provided a multitude of compositions, techniques, and design scenarios for countless clients at Negrotto’s Frame+Art in Gulfport. 

  “I’ve been working since 1974,” Creel said, announcing her retirement this month. She’s been a designer, customer service specialist, and framer at Negrotto’s since 2010. She has a dedicated following and some of her clients are second and even third-generation customers.

   “It’s just time,” she said adding she will dearly miss everyone.

  Creel has always had an eye for vivid color combinations, elegant tones, and a unique way to make anything fit the way she wanted it to, but she never really considered it would lead to a lifelong career. In 1980, Creel was a single mom to her young son, Isaac, and in need of a job. She wanted a creative outlet that also paid the bills, so she began working at a different framing gallery and learned the business.

  “And now, I’ve been doing this for 43 years,” Creel said. 

  She framed a tale of a storybook career spent keepsaking a myriad of mementos, including Mardi Gras gowns, tuxedos, crowns, and scepters. She’s memorialized generational jewelry, military medals, and 1920s, 30s, and 40s collectibles.

  “It’s been such a wide array of things,” Creel said. “If people can think it, we can probably do it. One of the more unique projects was a makeup compact. I think it was her mother’s or maybe even her grandmother’s, but we made it work and it was beautiful.”

  Butch Simpson, an owner of the gallery, said Creel’s knowledge and experience will be extremely hard to replace. 

  “Our new designer, Joseph, has been working alongside her since January,” Simpson said, adding Creel leaves behind a legacy and she will be greatly missed. “Joseph is learning as many of her secrets as possible before she retires.”

  Simpson added Creel has also been heavily involved in the Gulf Coast art community for the last 40 years.

  “She has used her connection with our amazing local artists to brighten homes and offices all along the Gulf Coast,” he said. “Nancy’s knack for finding the perfect frame and mat combination to help enhance the art and tie it into the design scheme of the space has kept people coming to see her for years.”

  And as the end of one era closes for Creel, another is just beginning. Her husband, James, is retired from Hancock Whitney Bank, and her son is grown with children of his own. Her retirement plans include lots of time with her nine-year-old granddaughter and her two-year-old grandson. Also on her agenda is gardening, especially in a butterfly garden, visiting with friends, time with family members in Arizona, and other travels. 

  “I just love South Carolina,” she said. “So, we are planning to do a lot of traveling, but I want to do things here too. I’ve got a lot of activities that go on in my neighborhood and I’m part of the event committee, so I’m excited about that too.”

Negrotto’s Frame+Art
9036A Carl Legett Rd., Gulfport

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