JERSEY SHORE - Dewey Oakes doesn't paint or create his own art work.
But he perhaps does the next best thing.
He takes other artists's works and reproduces them.
"I love what I do," he said. "It keeps me close to art."
Susquehanna Editions is the art reproduction and publishing half of his business pursuits.
The other half, Susquehanna Gallery and Frame Shoppe, was launched in 1997 and evolved into the two businesses.
Both are housed at 310 S. Main St.
"It's a pretty even balance," he said.
The two businesses have been surviving quite nicely in what has been a down economy of recent years.
"I do framing for all sorts of things," he said. "We do work for exhibits."
Oakes can take a painting and digitally reproduce it for the artist.
He can either work for or with the artist.
"The ability to accurately reproduce things is greater than ever," Oakes said. "It's amazing what you can do now."
Oakes went to college to study art and feels it has given him a good understanding into the creative side of things.
It's also given him a feel for color and in working with artists.
He learned the technology side of the business later.
Oakes has worked with the artist David Seybold for the past 10 years.
He also reproduces Ned Martin's work, a Nippenose Valley and New York City artist, as well as those of Margaret Wilson, of Rochester, N.Y.
As far as Oakes is concerned, it's an exciting time for art in the Central Susquehanna Valley.
"Williamsport is working very hard to develop into an artists' community," he said. "The Susquehanna Health Project was a huge boost to the art community."
Oakes is referring to the newly opened patient tower at Williamsport Regional Medical Center where nearly 400 pieces of artwork by regional artists are displayed.
Many people, he said, have strived to bring local awareness to art, and events like First Fridays in Williamsport serve as drawing cards for artists.
Beyond that, artists moving into the area are finding a connection here and bringing with them new ideas.
Oakes, who enjoys rock climbing and other outdoors pursuits, said he hasn't had much time of late to indulge in those activities.
"We're busy," said Oakes, who serves as sole proprietor of his business. "We are putting in a lot of hours."
And for that, he's grateful.
"I could never have hoped to do this well. I don't know if it's the gas industry buffering us or what."
He said it seems when one side of his business slows down, the other simply picks up.