by Diane VanDyke
As designers of their destiny, artists learn through perseverance, experience and networking how to transform their passions into thriving businesses. Montgomery County Community College is pleased to host several artist entrepreneurs in an exclusive Artist Entrepreneurs Exhibition starting Monday, Nov. 18, through Friday, Dec. 13, at the Fine Arts Gallery, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.
A special “Meet the Artists” reception will be held 1-3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 24, in which the public can meet entrepreneur artists Kathy Davis of Kathy Davis Studios, Horsham; Sabine Minshall, Fred Kreitchet and Carol Kreitchet of GiftWorks, Blue Bell; Royce Yoder of Royce Yoder Potter, Lederach; and Brad Smith of Bradford Woodworking, Lansdale. Both the exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.
While these artists have unique talents and specialized artwork, they share mutual journeys of becoming successful, self-employed artists.
Kathy Davis taught art for about 10 years before she launched her greeting card business from her home in 1990. Working from a small drawing table in her bedroom, she used her design and calligraphy skills to create a full-time business. Today, she has become one of the most respected designers in her field. Her company has an extensive collection of more than 34,000 designs and messages, and her products include greeting cards, fabric, bank checks, calendars, gifts and housewares.
Friends and business colleagues, Sabine Minshall, Carol Kreitchet and Fred Kreitchet, combined their talents and resources in 2008 to form GiftWorks of Blue Bell—a source for affordable, American-made, artistic-quality gifts and souvenirs. They have created products for companies such as The Franklin Mint, Lenox China, Wedgewood, Waterford, Pfaltzgraff, Pennsylvania State Museum, and The Valley Forge National Historic Park. Their art pieces have been exhibited at the London National Gallery, White House, Baltimore and Elmwood Park zoos, Penn State University, Independence National Historic Park, Academy of Natural Science, The Franklin Institute, University of Pennsylvania, Fairmount Park Association, Camden Children’s Garden and John J. Audubon Center.
Since opening his pottery studio in 1983, Royce Yoder has crafted “over a hundred thousand” hand-thrown pottery pieces that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. He exhibits his artwork at two to three shows annually, and his pottery can be found in galleries and shops across the country. Each piece is hand-thrown and hand-glazed.
For more than 30 years, Brad Smith has been making furniture on his farm in Lansdale. While he learned the woodworking basics during his high school years, he further developed his skills at Rochester Institute of Technology’s School for American Craftsmen and graduated with a BFA in woodworking and furniture design. Incorporating farm elements into his furniture has become his signature style—tractor seats adorn stools, pitchforks become parts of chairs and ax handles are converted into stool legs. His work can be found in stores and galleries spanning the country.
The community is invited to stop by and enjoy the work of these entrepreneurs or meet them in person during the reception. The hours for the gallery are Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m. and Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Closed weekends, except for the artists’ reception. For more information, contact MCCC Galleries Director Holly Cairns at 215-619-7349 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can help support the arts and art education programs at Montgomery County Community College by becoming a Friend of The Galleries. Donations are tax deductible. For more information, contact the College Foundation at 215-641-6535. Friend and follow Montgomery County Community College’s art exhibitions on Facebook at facebook.com/DestinationArts.