Peter Mount retired years ago after a career in social work. These days he’s busier than ever. Volunteering throughout his hometown of Canandaigua, you’re likely to find him gardening and playing butler at Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park or lending a hand at Granger Homestead and Carriage Museum fundraisers and kids’ programs. At Habitat for Humanity of Ontario County, he’s the man behind the sorting, hanging and arranging of the many paintings, prints and photographs that roll into the ReStore.
“I’m a member of the Purple Thumb Gang,” said Mount, making a joke about his fumbles with a hammer. He claims to have a bruised thumb now and then from hanging and rehanging of works that are constantly changing due to sales and influx of new donations. He also cleans and fixes framed works as needed so they are ready for show and for buyers to take home and place directly on their wall.
Mount got involved with Habitat a number of years ago. He started out volunteering on various boards and committees. Problem was, he really wanted to help out in a more hands-on way.
He got his wish. Within the ReStore at 3040 County Road 10, nine walls showcase more than 100 framed works at any one time. Just inside the entryway, hang a left and you’ll find a stretch of hallway where the bulk of pieces are on display. Think everything from prints and original works by local as well as famous artists, to framed postcards and posters. Art aficionados will recognize names of nationally-known artists such as Ramon Santiago and Cecelia E. Oliver, along with works by Finger Lakes artists such as Jeanne Raffer Beck. A recent batch of ReStore donations included an unsigned, though verified, etching by Picasso.
Store manager Dale Reed handles pricing and other aspects of the donations. Reed said the value of these works can range from a few dollars to over $1,000. Some donations come in following estate sales, others are simply from folks who are moving or clearing out a house for any number of reasons and can’t keep the artwork.
To keep up with the turnover, Mount said he shuffles work around to keep the displays fresh and interesting. “To fill three or four gaps on a wall, I may move 30 pictures,” he said.
Mount said his personal favorites focus on the beauty of nature, especially that of the Finger Lakes. He likes photos, paintings and posters depicting the scenery of the place he has always called home. He grew up on Cayuga Lake. For many years he owned a boat on Canandaigua Lake near the home he shares with his wife, Karen. Peter and Karen enjoy traveling and spending time with their children and grandchildren.
At the ReStore, Peter said he likes the challenge of finding just the right spot to display a certain piece of artwork. Sometimes, he admitted, he can’t resist buying a photograph or painting to take home. That is, if he can beat the dealers. “When we open up at 9 a.m. on Wednesdays — they’re all here,” he said.