International Art Materials Association
     eNEWS:  November 20
, 2019
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Kristen Sciascia & C.C. Lowell

Kristen is the owner of C.C. Lowell Art Supply Co. in Worcester, Massachusetts, tells us a little about herself and her store.

How did you become a part of the art materials industry?
Kristen: I began working for C.C. Lowell in Worcester, MA in 1995. I started right out of college and had always worked in retail and I also had a degree in Psychology and a minor in art so it was and easy transition. I began part time, worked up to full time, became the assistant manager, the framer, buyer at times, and eventually the manager then, general manager. I purchased the company in 2012 from the previous owner.

What do you do, and what is your favorite part of your job?
Kristen: Now, I run the company as the owner and other than working with an amazing staff, my favorite part is working with the customers.

Do you create art? If yes, tell us about it.
Kristen: I create art only when I take vacations. I have recently grown in watercolor and really enjoy it. I would rather help people get to where they need to be in their art than doing it myself.

What INDUSTRY person has taught or influenced you most?
Kristen: The person who taught me the most is Bill Cavanagh. He was the former owner and was a very active part of this industry. I take his lessons in business and working with customers and use them every day. We are great friends and admirers of each other.

What NON-INDUSTRY person has taught or influenced you the most?
Kristen: My dad. My father was also an independent business owner in Worcester and he taught me to work hard and know where your paycheck comes from. I think I get my work ethic from him. He was an extremely hard worker.

Do you have something special to say about the history of your company?
Kristen: C.C. Lowell was established in 1852 and is the first Art supply store in the United States! It began and has remained in Worcester, MA. We still have ledgers and receipts as well as art supplies from the 1800's in our display case in the store. It's a beloved part of the city and I am so honored to be a part of it.

Do you have any advice that you would give a new person coming into the art materials industry?
Kristen: The art materials industry is full of passionate people who truly care about keeping bricks and mortar stores going. MacPherson Art has been an important part of our growth throughout the years and continues to be a partner in keeping local smaller businesses alive. Each time I go to a trade show it's like coming home. so many faces that have been there for so many years. They move from one company to another but stay within this industry. I joke that this industry is a bit like the never get out! (nor do you want to)

Where on the planet have you been that you were the most impressed with the visual art?
Kristen: The visual art in Worcester has grown so much in the past 5 years. We are lucky enough to be a PowWow! city and have over 50 murals throughout our city.

Is there something else that you think the membership would be interested in knowing about you and/or your company?
Kristen: We are forever evolving. Keep it fresh for your customers and don't forget to venture out in to other creative parts of your business. We are picture framers and also sell gift. Keep your creatives happy!


This story is from MacPherson's ART DOG, written by Catherine Monahon

As late as midnight, people strolling down Lyndale Avenue in Minneapolis, MN might notice an unlikely storefront. No mannequins or quirky merchandise: a window full of yellow light illuminating a vast canvas, the glimmering eyes of a woman and a painter at work rendering her. Initially, this might have been a surprise to community members. They stopped to watch, curious. The more outgoing ones knocked on the window pane to see what this was all about. Fellow painters revealed themselves, inquiring about technique, materials, concept. Nearly everyone paused, if just for a moment, to watch Dora Mina come to life.

Months later, the painter still works late into the night, and whether he is painting or not neighbors greet him with recognition. “Dora Mina!” They call as he waits in line for a cup of coffee before work. “How is the painting going?” They ask as he crosses the street.

Dora Mina is his subject; the painter, Andrew Sandberg, works at Art Materials in Minneapolis. Over the past six months his large scale oil painting, Dora Mina and the Man Entering the Room, has captured the attention of the community. Our team reached out to Andrew and Eric Brown, the store manager to learn more about how this long-form live painting exhibition came to life, how it is impacting business and what they have learned from the process so far.

Dora Mina & The Man Entering The Room
Andrew’s painting features a young woman turning her gaze towards a man, with a stained glass window in the background. “The basic concept of the painting is the spiritual nature of romantic love,” Andrew says. “This is a subject that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’ve had trouble putting it in visual terms. You can make a painting of lovers, but that’s sort of one dimensional. But to project the meaning of an exchange of glances between two people…how do you express that visually?” Andrew found inspiration when he moved back to Minneapolis after some time in New York City. “In Minnesota, everyone has leaded windows; almost all of the art when you are walking down the street has been inspired by stained glass or mosaics. Stained glass works with the subject: it speaks to the sacredness of the piece. So the painting is inspired by public art in our city, and it really fits into our neighborhood.”

Andrew has spent a lot of time studying his subject and reworking his initial designs; the labor of love began in October of 2017. He spent over a year on drawings and color studies, visiting churches, mausoleums and civic-centers looking for architectural and stained glass motifs to study the effects of light through stained glass. Another focus was the scale of the piece. “I need to maintain the entire painting in my mind as an integrated unity,” Andrew explains. “I have never made such a large painting or such a complex composition and it was difficult to tie everything together into an organic structure.”

In January of 2019 Andrew had been with Art Materials for a year, and he had an idea. When he met with the Browns for his yearly review, rather than ask for a promotion, Andrew hatched a proposal instead. “I said, I don’t need a raise, I want to make this painting. How can we make this happen?”

Owners JoAnn and Larry Brown were intrigued; Andrew wrote up a detailed project proposal to create a 6” x 10.5” oil painting of Dora Mina and the Man Entering the Room, a painting he would create outside of work in a space the shop owns next door. The proposal included a description of the subject matter, inspiration, composition. Additional sections included expectations for the project (how it will benefit the artist’s technique, motivation and career), ways the project benefits the store (social media, word-of-mouth buzz, legitimacy) and a clear outline of what exactly he would need to complete the project (canvas, paint, space, time).

A big part of the project is the documentation of it: Andrew posts to Instagram and films himself painting, posting the videos to YouTube. “He is giving the internet good, genuine content that drives interest in other artists to visit our store and buy supplies,” Eric points out. “It’s all about getting the eyes on the project, posting updates, tutorials. He did a video on how to stretch an oversized canvas.”

The Space
While the project had strong support from the Browns, the empty storefront that Art Materials has been trying to rent out made it all possible. “We had this space where he could paint, a space that has retail architecture, facing Lyndale Avenue,” Eric explains. “We had never considered that before, over the years we were just looking for a tenant, a good neighbor, a good partner.”

Lyndale Avenue is a busy, popular evening and entertainment night hub. “It’s dark outside, it’s light in the space where Andrew is painting. It feels like you are in a fishbowl, there are people watching you doing your thing,” Eric laughs. “He seems to like it, I wouldn’t like that!”

One caveat to the project: it can’t interfere with Andrew’s work schedule at Art Materials. “I do it after hours; I work 9 to 5, so I’ll usually start painting from 5:30 to 10 or 11 at night.” Andrew has been able to balance working and painting, and his position as a staff member is particularly important to the success of the project: “We couldn’t just invite someone we don’t know,” Eric points out. “They would have full access to the space. He is a trusted employee with a key.”

Community Interest
With the room illuminated every night, creating buzz via word of mouth was no challenge. The community has been following the evolution of Dora Mina closely. “It’s giving the painting a lot of exposure; we have long winters up here, where it’s dark for many hours of the day,” Eric says. A sign in the window informs onlookers about the work. “There are a lot of people who will stop and watch him paint, knock on the window give him a thumbs up, or even ask him to come outside and chat.”

Andrew agrees: “I’ve spent hours outside with people talking about their interpretation of it. That is important for me, having the work constantly exposed to people. I can see if what I am doing is intelligible to people. Often times I’d spend hours on a painting, with no feedback. I didn’t actually go to art school, I studied philosophy and art history. This has been a 24-hour critique. I’m constantly painting in front of customers, staff, fellow artists.”

Driving In-Store Engagement
The Live Painting Exhibition—Andrew painting in the atrium night after night—has made an important connection between art, artists and art supplies. “We sell art supplies: here’s a guy painting a giant canvas,” Eric says. “It brings people into the store, whether it is on weekdays or weekends. The curiosity is there, because people are seeing the painting. It’s large enough where it takes up the wall with two spotlights on it that we leave on at night when we are gone, and that has driven a lot of inquiries.”

Valuing Artists
The success of this project hinges on Larry, JoAnn and Eric Brown supporting the arts and valuing artists, especially the artists on staff.  “Most of our staff are artists in some terms,” Eric notes. “Whether they have a graphic design background, or traditional painting, sculpting. A lot of them have art school under their belt or are currently in art school. Historically that has been a group of individuals that we have attracted and hired.” Andrew has been a working artist since he was 15. “I’ve always worked at art stores,” he says. “Prior to Art Materials I was with Michael’s for ten years, I moved back here from New York City and started applying to jobs. This job was a great fit. It has been the best working relationship I’ve ever had, I love the Browns, I love working here.”

The Perfect Fit: Not a Gallery
When Eric and Andrew first described the extra space they had on hand, my mind went straight to the Art Dog virtual gallery walk we’ve been on for months now. Why not hang artwork on the walls? Set up a gallery? I caught myself; I’ve learned from my interviews with small business owners and staff members that putting together and sustaining a gallery takes plenty of additional work. But I wanted to know specifically what deterred them from creating a gallery in this additional space.

“It’s an enormous amount of work running a gallery,” Andrew answered. “I have no extra time. I was trying to organize something like that with some other artists; it was becoming overwhelming. I thought, Do I do this during my working hours? My painting hours? Or the 15 minutes before going to bed?”

A long form, live painting exhibition led by a trusted staff member provides the same amount of visibility in terms of an active, intriguing use of the space—without the additional labor of organizing a gallery. Eric clarified exactly why Andrew’s project is the perfect fit for the store: “The painting project is self-managing. I’m already at my desk until midnight; taking on something else without additional staff would be impossible.”

Romantic Love, Realized
So, once the painting is finished, where will Dora Mina go? “The plan is to hang it from the rafters inside the store, it’s kind of perfect because the space has a barn roof, it has a feeling of a temple.” Eventually Andrew hopes to find a buyer; but until then, she will watch over the shop and greet every customer with her powerful gaze.





Story from The Drum Network,    

Influencer marketing is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Well known and well loved faces have always been used to promote products and brands.

Since the birth of social media, this practice has exploded; there are now numerous influencers and micro-influencers with access to a broad range of captive audiences. Influencer marketing has become an effective and popular tactic across all industries, including B2B organizations, not just the most commonly assumed ‘lifestyle’ focused B2C brands.

Some 92% of marketers who use influencer marketing believe it to be a successful strategy. While 80% say that they have seen a comparable or much higher ROI from influencer marketing than other channels, although 71% say that the quality of customers is far better than other marketing sources. Based on marketers' reactions and insights, influencer marketing seems like a no brainer. So how can marketers use relationships with influencers to drive business?

1. Build Trust
Influencers have constructed communities based on real connection and trust. Many people have become suspicious of traditional forms of advertising, including the digital ones. However, when it comes to peer reviews, and online testimonials from known faces, consumers are much more likely to have confidence in a brand. In fact 49% of consumers rely heavily on influencers for product recommendations.

2. Creative Relevance
Brands often make the mistake of choosing the loudest voice or most recognisable face to promote their product. The impact an influencer will have on behalf of your brand depends not just on audience size but engagement.

A world-renowned celebrity as your spokesperson may seem like the most obvious choice for maximum visibility. But if you are trying to sell pet insurance and the majority of their audience is engaged with hip hop music it is unlikely this will drive the right exposure for your brand or product sales.
twitter share button facebook share button pinterest share button

Consumers are complex, and of course cannot be categorised only according to one interest. There is crossover between different spaces of engagement. However, choosing an individual whose captive audience follows them to feed an interest or address a need as closely aligned to the service you or your product provides as possible, is more likely to guarantee sales.

Hence, why many brands are looking to ‘micro-influencers.’ This type of influencer has a smaller following but specializes in specific content areas where their audiences are highly responsive.

Working with specialists who have experience and insight based on data in this space can enable you to determine who the key influencers or micro-influencers are in your space.

But is it Worth the Cost?
Influencer marketing is an expensive strategy, with even some micro influencers commanding thousands per posts. In the first half of this year alone, brands have spent $756m on influencer activity.

According to many sources, this type of activity is worth it: Brand awareness and engagement campaigns that utilised influencers in 2019 saw an 8x ROI while direct response campaigns (app installs, signups, purchases) were 1.8x per $1.

Yet, another study revealed that 84% of marketers feel that proving the true ROI of influencer activity is a challenge.

The key to determining ROI seems to be in setting clear KPIs and ways to measure them. For example, if your strategy is based around driving sales, you should determine the number of sales you would like to make from your influencer activity and ensure your chosen influencer uses a tracked link to your site. This will enable you to track the traffic they send there and subsequent purchases made by potential customers.

Choosing the right influencer for your brand or product can help grow trust and create relevancy within a receptive target audience to ultimately drive business. Despite being expensive, ROI from your influencer marketing strategy can be high.

However, it is important to be aware that the expense and potential exposure of an influencer marketing campaign creates higher risk if the wrong influencer is chosen and/or the wrong audience targeted for your brand. Therefore, influencer marketing is best placed as a complimentary part of your wider digital marketing strategy, rather than the sole focus.


"Art and culture have the power to lift up what makes a community thrive"  -

See more facts about the effect that the Arts have on people and situations on



Art, Culture, and Engaging Communities

Story from Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Blog
by Laura Choi
"The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the management of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco or of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System."

Art and culture have the power to lift up what makes a community thrive. With art, especially art seeped in cultural experience and context, spaces become more vibrant. Celebrations of local art and culture help bring people together and build relationships. Spaces infused with art soon become central gathering places. Art can help a community redefine itself, or it can be part of the process of reclaiming cultural identity in the face of rapid change.

Sounds good. So why isn’t art everywhere?

While we all intuitively understand the value of bringing art and culture into places, there’s still a lot to learn about how to do it in partnership with artists and communities.

Over the last several years, the community development field has experimented with creative placemaking solutions. That is, ways to enhance the role of artists and culture bearers as partners within the community development process. In particular, the infusion of arts and culture into community development processes allows for deeper engagement and relationship building with communities. Most recently, the field has begun to intentionally emphasize the interplay of arts and culture with issues of racial equity, equitable development, and gentrification and displacement to mitigate less desirable outcomes.

In a recent publication from the San Francisco Fed, industry leaders share their learnings from the Community Development Investments (CDI) program, and its implications for the broader community development field. CDI, led by ArtPlace America, provided flexible funding to six diverse community development organizations in support of their partnership with artists and creative practitioners.

Through a process of listening and discovery, CDI participants developed locally tailored, creative solutions to challenges that impact many low-income communities and communities of color. For example, building community power to advocate for policy change, or reducing health disparities tied to community disinvestment and intergenerational poverty.

For concrete examples, and to celebrate the power of the arts to advance equitable and resilient communities, visit the latest Community Development Innovation Review from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, PolicyLink, and ArtPlace America.

Videos from our event, Transforming Community Development through Arts and Culture, hosted by San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, are coming soon.

Join the Arts Action Fund - For Free!

The Arts Action Fund is at the forefront of advancing the arts in America. We are the only national arts advocacy organization dedicating 100% of our time, money, and political clout to advancing the arts in America. Our mission is to mobilize one million citizens to join us in mobilizing support of the arts and arts education around the country.

Join the movement to advance the arts and arts education in your community and across the country.
Annual membership is free and your online benefits include:

  • Membership to vote on the legislative policy platforms
  • Breaking news and legislative alerts from the E-Advocacy center
  • Quarterly updates through Arts Action eNews
  • Exclusive access to the member's only Arts Action Fund PAC


 Don't find yourself on an island all by yourself . . .

. . .  exhibit at Art Materials World 2020 where you can make Friends, Connections, Sales and Deals!

For details, contact Rick Munisteri today.


1962 - 2019

Edwin Ramos recently passed away at home after a courageous 5-year battle against cancer. He was from Brooklyn, New York. and then lived in Austin, Texas, with his wife Elaine Salazar. Edwin was the CFO/COO of Ampersand Art Supply, the company Elaine had founded to produce painting panels for artists.

Edwin is remembered as a brilliant student and a tireless worker, with a commitment to his community and belief that we are called to care for one another. Working closely with his faith community at Our Lady of Guadalupe, he helped lead and set up a summer youth employment program. In 1998 he worked closely with Austin Interfaith to help establish Capital IDEA to lift working adults out of poverty into living wage careers through education and career development in the private and public sectors.  Edwin also dedicated many years working with ARA (Austin Revitalization Authority), a community organization that works on revitalization efforts in under-served communities in Austin.

Charitable contributions can be made in honor of Edwin to American Association for Cancer Research or Hospice Austin.

See full Memory of Edwin which includes a beautiful video.



He was born in France and speaks English and French. Before he came into the business he was a certified Pastry Chef (yum)!

He's the COO and fourth-generation owner of his company which exhibited last year in San Antonio and plans to come back for 2020 Chicago. His company began in the 1890s and used to be in Kansas City. Today they are located near a very large US attraction.

Who is this member?

Hint:   . . . . .' .

 The hint was Ziller's.

The answer is Sebastien Saint-Ouen.

The answer to the last question is the founder of Jack Richeson & Company, Mr. Jack Richeson, pictured with his wife Linda,

Take a look
at the history of Jack, his company, and his love of art.

Jack Richeson & Company is a 2020 Art Materials World Exhibitor.

Congratulations to the winner of November 6th's question - Daran Bair from American Sales and Marketing.

At the end of the year, everyone who has participated with a correct answer will be in a drawing for a $100 gift card.


Welcome to Sanghi Brushwares, manufacturer of artist, cosmetic, ceramic, craft, and custom-made brushes in India. "All our artworks are
Inspired by Nature."
Sanghi Brushwares is a 2020 Art Materials World Exhibitor.

Alpha 6 Corporation
is a manufacturer of professional quality Lettering Enamels, Sign Acrylics, Artist Tools, and Supplies made in Detroit, Michigan by artists for artists and craftsmen.  "We care about our products and those that use them."
Alpha 6 Corporation is a 2020 Art Materials World Exhibitor.

From Lithuania, Smiltainis ir Ko, UAB - SM-LT Art- is a fast growing international brand. "We are real earthly people that think about society, we do care and we are ready to share with you everything we know and everything we create. Welcome to our world of art paper products with soul."
Smiltainis ir Ko, UAB is a 2020 Art Materials World Exhibitor.




"It's great to spend time at a networking event with someone you know and like. But that's not what you're there for. Your goal is to expand your network by meeting new people."

- Beth Ramsay

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Contact Karen with questions.