There’s an art to making art look beautiful.

For 14 years, Christian Harwell has been doing exactly that as owner of Cyrus Custom Framing at 2645 Cleveland Avenue NW in Canton.

Prior to opening his own business, Harwell worked for a frame shop for 13 years.

“I’ve always had a passion for art,” he said. “I was lucky to get into a frame shop at 19.”

But Cyrus Custom Framing is far more than a frame shop. It’s an art gallery, a printing house, a photo restoration business and a place where Harwell uses his artist’s eye and expertise to turn a photograph, artwork or an artifact into something extraordinary.

The shop offers as many as 8,000 examples of frame moldings from which to choose. Some are lines Harwell designed himself, the result of winning the Star Design, an international framing competition sponsored by Larson-Juhl, one of the world’s largest molding suppliers.

The winning piece was the result of Harwell consulting with a customer who wanted a custom display box for her late veteran father’s flag.

“During the process, I asked her if she had any pictures and other memorabilia, and she had the bullet casings from his funeral,” he recalled.

As part of winning the competition, Harwell was invited to design two lines of a faux leather-wrapped moldings.

“One of the things that sets us apart is the creative design we do,” he said.

Cyrus also offers photo restoration and on-site printing.

“We can print just about everything here,” he said, including photos taken with cellphones.

A history buff, Harwell said historic documents are some of his favorite items to frame. He recently did a framing for a customer who has signatures for every U.S. president.

“But we treat everything with the same reverence,” he said, “whether it is your kid’s picture or a historic document. The reason you walked in the door is because you trust us.”

Harwell said he also has framed numerous pieces of sports memorabilia. He’s even in the process of framing a car windshield that displays several Ivy League schools.

“There’s virtually nothing we can’t frame,” he said.

One of his most nerve-wracking projects?

“Probably a document signed by Abraham Lincoln,” Harwell replied. “That’ll wake you up in the morning.”

The store also has a gallery space that showcases local talents. Himself an artist, Harwell has donated some of his own work for auction to raise money for the Stark County Hunger Task Force. His wife, Ashley, serves on the board of directors.

Harwell also is a huge supporter of the Canton Arts District.

“We also do a tremendous amount of original art,” he said. “We’ve done a Salvador Dali. It’s surprising what local folks have in their collections.”

To learn more, call 330-452-9787, or visit

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Charita Goshay

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