BOARDMAN -- As a young man in the mid-1950s, Neil Mohney attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh

BOARDMAN -- As a young man in the mid-1950s, Neil Mohney attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh where he studied commercial and fine art.
Although he had a talent for art, his career took a different path.
"For years I worked in the food industry, but in the late '80s I began experiencing heart problems and by 1990 I was totally disabled," Mohney said.
For some people, disability means the end of earning a living, but Mohney was able to take the raw deal he was dealt in life and return to his first love -- art, eventually opening Gallery on the Glen, a framing shop.
Opportunity: While waiting for some government red tape to unravel so that he could get some assistance, he responded to a classified ad seeking artists that ran in The Vindicator.
"The ad was for a company out of West Virginia that sold lithograph borders that depicted people's interests such as flowers and pets. You then found customers who wanted to have portraits sketched or painted within the borders. Desperation will cause you to do anything," Mohney said with a laugh.
He also had gained some experience working two days a week in a local frame shop, a move that would prove invaluable down the road.
Starting career: After a couple of months of painting portraits, his disability benefits were approved and the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation offered help with a new career. But the frame shop where he had worked went out of business.
"When they closed, I approached their supplier and asked the company if they would sell to me even though I would be working in my own home. The supplier was dead set against selling to me at first, but I had developed a great relationship with the salesman and in 1991 they agreed to sell to me," Mohney said.
By 1996 his business had outgrown his house.
"Coincidentally, Chuck Beshara, who was one of my first customers, had some space available in this building and I rented 300 square feet. Two years later I had to rent another 300 square feet across the hall," Mohney said.
Last May, his daughter Lauren joined him in the business.
"Now that she is involved, I would like to take some time and do more drawing and maybe even do a show next year," he said.
He credits his involvement with the Mahoning Valley Water Color Society and a project he did for St. Elizabeth Health Center for boosting to his business. He did the framing and the mat design for a display of hospital history which hangs in the lobby.