As my son prepared to go to the Rhode Island School of Design, I had an epiphany. What defines me is my shared experiences with family and friends, my love of all things art, and an intense desire to help others. What surprises me is I left a career I loved to pursue a dream of deepening bonds among people through art, music and poetry told through shared stories and giving back to arts education.
Knowing I couldn’t do this alone, I turned to Karen Tyree, a friend since middle school. She has a shared belief that business can be used for good, and she has a solid background in ecommerce. Karen agreed to help me get started and the idea for StoriesToArt.com was born in August 2014. Today, with the launch of this blog, begins the next chapter of the story.
Bringing A Personal Touch to StoriesToArt
I’m an artist who spent most of my career in education. As a child, my parents fed my art interests but steered me toward a “practical” career. While pursuing advanced degrees, including a Doctorate in Special Education from the University of Virginia, and finding ways to be creative in the field of education, I’ve been painting and doing interior design on the side.
I co-wrote federal and state grants that enabled our team to create research based educational programs. I also worked as a consultant with schools wishing to adopt best practices, and as director and an assistant head of school in accredited schools needing new structures. I also taught at various state colleges and universities and presented on best practices in education at a lot of conferences.
Throughout all of this, I kept up with my art, took art classes, gave gifts of oil paintings to my friends and family, and renovated many a home. My son also has incredible artistic talents and my husband and I support his dream of art as a career. I want to share these experiences, and my love of art, but I also want to give others opportunities to share their unique stories as well.
StoriesToArt Gives Back From The Beginning
Another unique aspect of this initiative is the continued focus on giving back to the art community, and allowing them to in turn give back to their own communities. StoriesToArt Gives Back supports arts education by awarding grants to charitable organizations, particularly schools, wishing to turn their stories into art. Grant recipients commission StoriesToArt artists to help them turn their stories into art.
StoriesToArt Gives Back is a StoriesToArt.com initiative. 5% of all profits go to StoriesToArt Gives Back, including all profits from the sales of StoriesToArt t-shirts, mugs and phone covers. Personal and corporate donations of $250 or more are accepted through StoriesToArt Gives Back using a charitable Donor Advised Fund created for this purpose.
StoriesToArt Gives Back has an advisory board comprised of artists, writers and educators with a commitment to arts education. The board reviews and awards grants bi-annually. We invite you to discover more about – and ideally support – StoriesToArt Gives Back today.
A Team Hard At Work
With our planned launch to the public in 2017 the team is hard at work. I couldn’t have made it if it hadn’t been for the awesome group of people, which now includes Stephanie Reindel (Director of User Experience), Rebecca Sheffield (Design Director), Elizabeth Williams (Creative Content Director), Ty Owens (Marketing Specialist), Web Expo, an advisory board of professional artists, poets, and songwriters, and a growing number of esteemed artists, poets and songwriters.
We all invite you to check us out at www.storiestoart.com and become a major character in our story.
Featured image: Sir Blue by Kate and Ben Gatski.