By Elizabeth Matthews
Chesterfield, MO (KSDK) - Ring in the games! Five super-sized Olympic rings were lowered off London's Tower Bridge signaling just 30 days until the games.
In past years, a local gallery owner would be preparing to sell posters and traveling to the games, but this year he's cutting his ties.
The reason is the economy. Let's explain what exactly the gallery does; they commission artists to design posters and works with the United States Olympic Committee to use the posters.
There are pieces of Olympic art all over the gallery including sculptures paintings and paper casts.
"Now these are replicas of the poster but this original poster by Matisse, sells for $4,000," said Jack Scharr, President of the Fine Arts Ltd.
The gallery is in Chesterfield and Scharr has been an integral part of the Olympics for more than a decade.
"Every year we did all of the posters, for the United States Olympic Committee," he said.
He worked closely with artists that would create designs. Even twice designing the "official poster" representing the Salt Lake Winter Games and the Atlanta Summer Games.
While it's an honor to just be a part of the design, it's also quite profitable for Scharr and the design team, until this year.
"When we sat down with the Olympic committee and discussed what to do, we had to ask ourselves who are we going to sell it to?" he explained. "Because the art market is so depressed right now."
He says that the designs would be sold as first editions for thousands of dollars but more often to those attending the games for anywhere from $5 to $30.
"So many galleries have gone out of business, so many poster and frame shops have gone out of business, that the market is so limited that it's just a chore," said Scharr.
So now he says he will sell these posters from previous games and wait for the economy to get better for the Winter Games.