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July 26, 2004

Brown Gibbons Lang & Company Announces the Sale of The Art Store

Brown Gibbons Lang & Company (“BGL”) today announced that the United States Bankruptcy Court has approved the sale of The Art Store, Inc. (“The Art Store” or the “Company”), to Dick Blick Holdings, Inc. (“Dick Blick”), a leading retailer and cataloguer of fine arts supplies, in a sale under Section 363 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

The Art Store is one of the leading specialty retailers of branded and non-branded artist supplies, materials and accessories in the United States. Annual sales reached approximately $40 million in 2003. Headquartered near Boston, Massachusetts, the Company currently owns and operates retail stores located in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and Washington D.C. For more than a decade, The Art Store has built a reputation as a “destination location” by providing one-stop shopping for professional artists, art students, aspiring artists and small businesses. The Company experienced financial difficulties last year when some of its expansion stores, for which it had borrowed heavily, failed to work out as planned.

In May 2004, The Art Store hired BGL to manage the sale of the Company’s remaining profitable urban-based stores in a court-administered process. “We engaged BGL, after interviewing a number of investment banks, because we were convinced BGL had the industry-related experience and proven transaction process to deliver the highest value for The Art Store. BGL executed a highly efficient process and delivered a result that exceeded our expectations, “ said Joseph Harberg, Managing Partner of Retail & Restaurant Growth Capital and a member of The Art Store’s board of directors. BGL completed the sale of the Company in just three months, prior to the critical August back-to-school retail season, at a premium valuation of more than 11-times trailing-twelve-months EBITDA.

“Our experience in the retail and wholesale distribution industries has again enabled BGL to capture maximum value for one of our specialty retail clients,” commented Jay Greyson, the BGL Director managing the sale.