Archive for the ‘Industry News’ Category

Riley Street San Rafael Celebrates 11 Years

Thursday, November 8th, 2018
Catherine Monahon, MacPherson’s Copywriter

Riley Street Art Supply has locations in San Rafael and Santa Rosa, CA; this month they celebrated 50 years of being in business, with the San Rafael store turning 11 this past June. Both stores celebrated with a two day sale where everything was at least 30% off, and the San Rafael store partnered with vendors to set up outdoor booths with various Make-and-Take activities and demonstrations.

Vendor partners included Daniel Smith, Golden, Strathmore, Jacquard, Savoir-Faire, Liquitex and Marabu. The event was a great opportunity to engage with repeat customers as well as passersby who had never even been in the store.

Outdoor Booths + Downtown Foot Traffic = Sales Opportunities

The interactive outdoor booths were more than an anniversary celebration; strategically timed with weekend window shoppers and tourist foot traffic, the booths drew first-timers in and the hands-on activities generated sales opportunities. Strathmore did a “Splash” greeting card Make-n-Take with FW inks and Art Alternatives artist tape on their mixed media greeting cards. Jacquard presented Piñata alcohol inks on YUPO paper so that passersby could design their own bookmarks. Daniel Smith attracted watercolor enthusiasts with their watercolor dot cards, while Faber Castell had artist Don Colley running a demo on urban sketching with Pitt Artist Pens. Pentel brought the Brush pens, Sign Pens with brush tips as well as their water brushes to demo lettering and urban sketching techniques. Savoir-Faire had Andrew Cook demoing Abstract Acrylics. MacPherson’s Account Manager Catherine Thoele worked two booths over the course of the two day event; Derwent, where she demoed Coloursoft and Metallic pencils on Art Alternatives wood panels, and POSCA, where she showed participants how to create a customized surfboard necklace.

Spur of The Moment: Drawn In & Inspired

MacPherson’s Account Manager Catherine Thoele highlights why these kinds of events are so crucial to growing business and engaging with customers. She was running the POSCA table when a girl and her mother stopped by and chose to do the demo, creating a mini surfboard necklace. They were intrigued by the markers and, thumbing through the brochure, began brainstorming what they could customize at home. The images in the sales literature allowed them to imagine new possibilities. “Your bedroom door! A baseball cap! Woah!” A lightbulb went off. “We should do my friend’s skate deck!”

Later that day they returned with the girl’s two friends; the three of them got to work and 45 minutes later, their friend’s skateboard was transformed into a beautiful work of art. Afterwards they visited the store with their parents and bought over $100 worth of markers.

There are so many ways to use art materials, Catherine explains. “Events like this help address all the kinds of customers. People were watching the kids create, amazed. I like to see people get it; they start thinking bigger than a paint marker on a flat surface.”

Demo: Surfboard Necklace

We’ve outlined everything you need to recreate Catherine’s POSCA demo.

Materials

Preparation

  1.  Drill a 1/8″ hole in the top of the surfboards before event.
  2. Pre-spray one side with Montana GOLD over a Crafters Workshop stencil so that participants focus on one side—this makes the craft more doable and limits time to keep traffic moving.

Step by Step

  1. Set out a sample surface so that people can test out different colors and nibs; demonstrate how to blend on a non-porous surface, like Yupo.
  2. Invite participants to customize their own surfboard on the blank/sprayed side
  3. Once they are finished, cut Hemptique hemp cord to desired length, thread through hole and double knot it.
  4. Spray the finished surfboard with workable fixative so the customer could add more media if they wished, she recommended finishing the boards with a clear coat spray.
  5. Get permission and snap a picture of the artist wearing the finished piece for future promotion and to share on social media!

Artisan Expo: The Positive Impact of Workshops

Thursday, November 1st, 2018
Catherine Monahon, Copywriter, MacPherson’s

In September, Account Manager Mia Fesmire and Brand Marketing Manager Ariana Faustini represented MacPherson’s exclusive brands at a three-day art supply extravaganza in Santa Fe known as Artisan Expo. The bi-yearly consumer show is sponsored by Artisan Santa Fe, a retailer with locations in both Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Artisan Santa Fe founded Artisan Expo in 2000, and the event has grown over the years to become the largest art materials and instructional event in the world! They host over 100 half-day and full-day workshops led by expert instructors, as well as a vendor trade show where over 80 vendors cater to artists who travel from all over the country, eager to learn and ready to restock their studios. We wanted to share a few takeaways with our community, because we believe the Artisan Expo model is a profitable sales strategy for retailers when replicated on a small scale.

The MacPherson’s booth, fully stocked with Art Alternatives surfaces, MABEF easels, Derwent Inktense sets and POSCA markers on day one, ready to go.

Our experience: this year Artisan Expo saw record-breaking attendance with participation up 25%. We provided instructors with Art Alternatives canvases as well as assorted RGM palette knives to promote the product and encourage attendees to visit our booth to get the same products they use in their workshops. In addition to the samples, we brought Art Alternatives wood panels and canvases, MABEF easels, POSCA markers and Derwent Inktense sets.

Artisan Expo attracts creatives who have the resources to invest in their craft, either by enrolling in a workshop or by taking home higher end supplies. How do they do this? The answer can be broken down into three parts: 1) a thoughtfully put together long-form workshop, 2) taught by an expert 3) in conjunction with a targeted sale.

A Long-Form Workshop

There is a reason that college-level fine art courses are three hours, sometimes five. Art takes time. While quick demos or make and takes are strategies that work for some customers, people with artistic talent who are hungry to learn will revel in the extra time that a three or six hour workshop affords. This extended time helps artists gain confidence with a new technique, making them more likely to purchase the materials needed to continue practicing. They will leave rejuvenated and focused, inspired by the expert staff or instructor who spearheads the class. Some retailers are already taking this approach: this summer we covered an example of a successful two-day event at Dots and Doodles, with support from Royal Talens, which led with a movie screening of Loving Vincent followed by a painting workshop the next day. If you have the space and time to host an afternoon or full day workshop and have a community of artists to tap into, it is well worth the investment.

Aside from the length of the workshop, the title (and of course, the content) is worth focusing on.

Artisan Expo hosts workshops on book making, sumi ink, watercolor, encaustics, jewelry making, gilding and more. Choosing a topic, technique or material and titling it in an inventive way draws in a specific crowd that wants exactly what they are serving up. When glancing at the title, customers imagine what they might create and get inspired to take the next step: enroll!

Some well-titled workshops that caught our eye:

  • Inventing Your Own Alphabet: Understanding Letterforms and Calligraphy
  • Using Encaustics with Mixed Media Over Photographs
  • Layers: Capturing the Santa Fe Landscape in Wax
  • Think & Paint in Aesthetic Categories
  • Inventing Cityscapes with Zentangle® Inspired Art
  • How To Travel Anywhere and Paint Small Watercolors

Great titles often include strong verbs. What will they be doing? Inventing, capturing, traveling, thinking. The title also specifies a medium in conjunction with a style (incorporating photographs, broadening aesthetic style, Zentangle, plein air painting on the go). The site-specific class attracts people with an attachment to your community’s landscape or cityscape. 

This specificity is key. Spending the day (and the price of tuition) on “Acrylic Painting 101” is not very motivating; try “Light Up Your World with Acrylic Painting on Dura-Lar Film.” By being more specific, you reach more people. You are highlighting a technique and connecting it to a visual (lighting up your world) or another medium (watercolor). Reaching the attendees who are actually interested in what specifically the class is focused on, you’re (probably) more likely to turn those artists into avowed fans of your events.

Taught By An Expert

Many of us know from experience that a good teacher can propel us forward in directions we never thought possible. The instructors—whether they are expert artists on your staff or outside hires—will make or break this experience. Workshops are a great opportunity to pair expert artists with relevant product, and to work with vendors to feature specific items. Make sure the instructor is well-acquainted with the product you are spotlighting- they are advertising the expertise your customers should expect from you. Fine artists and enthusiasts love to get technical, and seeing why a specific product works best for a nuanced technique will keep them interested and engaged.

A Targeted Sale

When class is over and students are on their way out the door, they discover those very products they were working with in class are on sale! Offering a sale of specific items in conjunction with the workshop is the finishing touch that seals the deal. Once someone has already invested in a high quality half-day or full-day workshop, throwing in a handful of art supplies or an easel that will allow them to recreate the experience at home and practice techniques they are committed to will be a no brainer. Ensure you are well-stocked in any products used for the class, and have the instructor/staff member offer to walk students through your store/booth to answer any additional questions they may have.

Alternative: Compromise With A Try-Table

If you don’t have the resources or space for a workshop, having a “Try-Table” or a “Make It Take It” station is a great way to engage with artists. While the paper pads on various displays are useful for seeing what a marker or pencil looks like on paper, providing chairs and a full size surface allows people to get comfortable and really dig in. We reached out to John Kittles of Kittles Art Supply in Arizona to learn more about their successes with their custom-designed Art Bar. Click here to read the feature and discover how you might set one up in your store.

*Pro tip: If you organize a “Make It Take It,” include instructions as a part of the takeaway, and add hashtags and encourage people to share their work using on social media, using the hashtags. It goes a long way to expand your reach!

Are you already replicating Artisan Expo small scale? Celebrating the recent success of a half-day or full-day workshop? We’d love to hear about your experience and share it with our community. Share your story with us at ArtDogBlog (@) MacPhersonArt.com

Happy Halloween from MacPherson’s!

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018
Catherine Monahon, Copywriter, MacPherosn’s

If MacPherson’s has a favorite holiday, it may or may not be the one that involves dressing up, decorating, turning the world upside down and tapping into our imaginative, artsy sides. While delivering creativity is what we do on the clock, we embrace (and express) creativity outside of work too—in fact, for many of us it is the fuel that keeps us going! Halloween is a chance for us to show off this creative spark.

Costume Contests

We kicked off the day of Halloween with a costume contest.

The winners in Emeryville:

Jeanine Davids as The Butcher, Ariana Faustini as an American Eagle and Christine Sanchez as Billy the Puppet from Saw.

The winners in Atlanta:

Marianna Powers as a witch, Clifton Turner as a “creepy slasher guy”, Camesha as a bee and Wanda Harrold as a coach; Natalie Simmons as Catwoman

Georgina Aguirre as Spider-girl, Luz Semidey as Jack Skellington.

Haunted Departments

In the weeks leading up to Halloween, various departments in Emeryville strategize, brainstorm and percolate: how can we transform our everyday desk pods into creatively creepy Halloween-themed menageries? Creative Services and Brand Marketing and Category Management had their eyes on the prize.  

Creative & Brand built a giant spider’s lair, complete with a witchy conjuring table and a graveyard — but their efforts were no match for the veteran Halloween champions in Category Management. They transformed their area into a haunted house, complete with lights, music and maniacal characters! While it’s hard to capture the experience in words, here’s what it was like to walk through their creative, terrifying house of horror!

For scale: Creative Services & Brand Marketing’s spidery lair tucked above the (first prize winners) huge haunted house by Category Management.

Congrats to Category Management for a well-deserved win! The amount of teamwork, collaboration and imagination that went into the haunted house is inspiring.

The haunted house experience began with a scary nun beckoning you in, then a puppet (Christine in Accounting) on a tricycle surrounded by creepy toys asking you to play. Dig deep into a gooey bowl of what feels like eyeballs and get the key from the grim reaper (Dave from IT); proceed down the hall where hands grab you and a masked figure jumps out… only to come face to face with The Butcher herself: Jeanine Davids.

Pumpkins

The week before Halloween, Human Resources doles out pumpkins and challenges us to transform them. The winners:

Best Decorated Pumpkin (left), Meghan Mclean (Creative & Brand) To create her pumpkin-turned-Dragon, Meghan used QoR Watercolor medium, QoR watercolors, Koi Metallic watercolors, Sculpey, POSCA markers and epoxy to hold it all together.

Most Creative Pumpkin (right), Hannah Reineck (Creative & Brand) Hannah adorned her pumpkin with a feather boa and created an avian friend with POSCA markers and glitter.

Best Carved Pumpkin (left), Bruce Graham (IT). Bruce went the old fashioned route – all you need is a kitchen knife (and toothpicks to secure the ears)!

Most Technical Pumpkin (right), Howard (IT). Howard’s process, and his result, won him the best technical pumpkin: he devised the method of marbling the pumpkin upside down by drilling a hole, sticking a curved paperclip in: voila, beautiful designs covering the entire surface. He used Marabu Easy Marble and a manikin.

Did you do anything fun for Halloween with your store? Any staff art or contests? Any Art Dog costumes? Tag us in your posts on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram–we’d love to see.

MacPherson’s Organizational Updates

Thursday, October 25th, 2018

We are excited to announce a few organizational updates! Please visit our announcements page to read the full letter from our CEO & President, Dave Schofield.

John Stephens has transitioned to Director of Marketing, focusing on brand management, category management, creative services and digital experience teams.

Neil McIntyre has been promoted to Director of Account Management and he’ll be joining our Senior Leadership Team. He will continue his management of the national field and inside sales teams, in addition to assuming leadership of our customer service team.

Jeff Scholz, MacPherson’s Director of IT, will now serve as a member of our Senior Leadership Team.

Jessica Krainert, our EDI Specialist, will now serve as our new Integration Manager, overseeing the business and technology integration and onboarding for new customers, vendors and IT projects.

Community Events: Camp Flax Kidsfest

Friday, October 19th, 2018

Every year Flax Art & Design in Oakland, California celebrates summer, art and kids with Kidsfest: a free, fun day of family-friendly arts and crafts. This year’s Kidsfest theme was Camp Flax, which celebrates the great outdoors and the California camping experience: think redwoods, wildlife and scouts. The event features various vendors and community organizations such as The Musem of Children’s Arts and the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design. Staff dress up and the store is transformed into redwood forest where kids and their families can enjoy face painting, a sing-along and dozens of craft activities.

Getting The Word Out

While people in the community simply know to look out for this long-standing event every summer, Manager Joni Marie outlines a multi-faceted outreach strategy aimed at reaching new families as well as the repeat customers.

“We advertise through our own social media, the store landing page and others as well: 510 Families, Mommy Files, Red Tricycle, FunCheapSF. We create banners and decorate the store to pique customer interest, with signs in our kids area of the store.”

MacPherson’s Account Manager / Ranger Kim Cichy with Store Manager / Ranger Joni Marie

As for logistics the day of, it’s all hands on deck. Joni ensures that all of her staff can make it that day; participating organizations man their own tables and bring a helper if needed.

The decorations go a long way in making an impression – especially when customers begin to notice redwoods and owls popping up throughout the store.

As for logistics the day of, it’s all hands on deck. Joni ensures that all of her staff can make it that day; participating organizations man their own tables and bring a helper if needed.

Tips & Tricks For Activities Kids Love

What makes a successful kid activity? How do we make a lasting impression that impacts sales? Events like Kidsfest inform these questions, especially when staff can learn from the experience (and improve it) year after year. This year, Kidsfest activities included:

Joni points out the key to facilitating a popular activity. “The most successful crafts? The 10 minute make-and-takes. Kids get to take something home, that day. Parents like that kids actually make an object, not just another drawing to stick on the fridge.”

Camp is in session! River rock painting with Sennelier Abstract Acrylics

Kidsfest also reminds us of the integral role of art supplies in creating memorable playing experiences. Art supplies can be used to inspire play, whether or not the activity is specifically related to creating art. Encouraging play that utilizes products that you carry introduces parents to supplies they need to recreate the fun at home.

“One year, Faber-Castell brought in a kids art specialist. We spray painted gravel and went panning for gold; it was a fun freebie for the kids. We try to center play with art being a part of it. Doing hands on things, trying to hit different age groups with the kids. It’s not just about the products, but we do have the goal of having parents seeing how they work. Most kids are under ten, but sometimes siblings want to participate and feel encouraged. Then the whole family usually ends up participating.”

Do you have a community event you’d like to share with us? Ideas about utilizing the power of play in your store? Connect with us at artdogblog (@) gmail.com and share your wisdom.

Who’s Who: Preston Arts Center

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

The current family of origin at Preston Arts Center: Don, Andrew, Alex, Kathy and Amelia Preston

Who’s Who celebrates a member of our industry community. If you would like to nominate someone, please email us at artdogblog (@) macphersonart.com with their name, position, company and a short description.

Kathy Brennan and Don Preston, the owners of Preston Arts Center in Louisville, KY, celebrate owning their family business for 40 years this month. They are major players in the independent world, and they have been able to thrive in a city with major competition.

This month, Andrew Preston, Kathy and Don’s son, will be hosting a two hour reception for vendors and their best customers, some of whom have been shopping with them since they opened their doors in 1978. In addition to the reception, a store-wide sale is in order and the rest of the family is coming home to celebrate.

What Matters Most

“Preston’s has always been a place where the staff has had to know everything.” Kathy wrote in their most recent newsletter. “I remember one sign writer who came in and yelled at me because I did not understand what “Showcard Paint” was. I remember custom mixing paint, figuring wallpaper, making craft samples, teaching craft classes, and so on.” Art education has always been a top priority–that and family.

“From our children’s earliest ages there was no mystery about what mom and pop did for a living,” writes Don in his celebratory blurb. “Although the dinner table may have contained a recapitulation of the day’s work, it was a tangible experience for all three children and we hope contributed to their maturity and outgoing personalities. To be business partners with your spouse is an extra benefit that extends family solidarity beyond the norm.”

All In The Family

Kathy and Don are eventually passing the business down to their son Andrew, who works in store and will mark the third generation to take on the business. We called in to learn more about their business, their family and their community—which we quickly discovered are all one and the same. When discussing the challenges and benefits of working in a family business, Kathy admits a challenge before focusing on the benefits—an attitude that no doubt has led to success for Preston Arts.

Because family members know one another so well, “it’s hard to keep difficult feelings from showing…on the other hand, it’s easier to work like a team. We are together 24/7. My husband has been a pillar of a partner, and it has been a pleasure. We have supported one another through it all; it has been a give and take.”

Preston Arts Center remains a major player in the region of Kentuckiana. When we ask how they’ve managed, Kathy cuts to the chase. It’s all about creating that personal experience. Not just a community feel, but an an actual community.

“It’s all about treating people like guests. Being personable. Students become friends, go out to lunch together. In the spring we have a big event and invite reps to do demonstrations. One of our reps mentioned she’s never been in a place with so many hugs!”

As for her proudest accomplishments, she instantly thought of the store’s relationship with chosen family: customers, staff and vendor partners.

“I’m proud that our customers are our friends and our extended family. We had a theft over Thanksgiving weekend—they took every brush, watercolor and oil. We posted about it on Facebook and people came in to order supplies in advance… We made $1500 more in sales that week, more than enough to cover our losses. Suppliers and vendors were so supportive.

Art education, and the pursuit of education in general, is another core value for the Preston Arts Center family.

Don and Kathy’s life drawing class presenting Thank You gifts

“I’m also proud that we’re also one of the largest private art schools in the city. We have 50 regular classes, everything from watercolor to alcohol ink to acrylic to hyperrealism. The education piece is big.”

The Next Generation

After chatting with Kathy, we reached out to her son Andrew, who (literally) grew up in the business. He shared his perspective as future third generation owner. Just like his mom, he admitted a challenge before refocusing on the positives. Realism must run in the family!

“Working with family presents all of the joys and all of the difficulties of being with your family. It’s great being able to support each other, develop ideas together. We watch out for each other. We share traits, so we might share a bias or a blindspot. We look out for that and are honest with one another.” Other benefits?

Don and Kathy with their son Andrew receiving an award for service to the art community from the Arts Council of Southern Indiana in 2007

“I don’t have to travel to see them. And if there is a childcare emergency, I bring my baby into the store and say, ‘Hi Grandma, Hi Grandpa… Have fun!”

Roena, the next generation, “helping” Grandma work

The family-friendly work environment is a long-standing tradition. “Some of my earliest memories? As small kid, there were a number of cool displays that I could crawl around in and hide in. My family used to have a building downtown, three stories with a cool creepy basement that was filled with all kinds of stuff from the paint and wallpaper store, including a giant furniture slide that went from the alley down to the basement. We would grab cardboard and slide down it. We had a blast.”

“I started working in the store around the age of 10, setting up classrooms and displays, doing odd jobs. At the age of 33 I still do all of the things I used to do when I was a kid. At the store we all pitch in. No one is superior to anyone else, we all pick up jobs no matter how long we’ve been at it.”

While he has been involved with the business since his first NAMTA show at just two and a half weeks old, his interest in art supplies came later.

“Up until I came back from school and came back to working in the business, I actually had no interest in the supplies. It had always been a summer job for me. But as I got to talk to artists more, and understand their drive to create, it became much more appealing. I realized I could use the supplies to create something to be appreciated.”

His gateway into the realm of art supplies? “To play a hipster card, I was into paint pouring way before it was popular. We had a Liquitex person come in to test out a new pouring medium. I made presents for friends, my girlfriend at the time, who is now my wife. There is a lot of unique experience you get being around artists. They don’t fit into the typical mold; they create their own projects and own directions.”

Andrew with the newest addition to the Preston family, Roena.

Carrying on family traditions is crucial—down to naming new family members! “My daughter Roena is named after my grandmother because she did so much for the family. Continuing to honor tradition is important to me.” Roena’s great grandmother, Roena Preston, co-founded the store with her husband Andy. It was originally a wallpaper and paint store (hence the contents of the basement from Andrew’s childhood antics).

Names aside, Andrew emphasizes that the family traditions he holds dear include encouraging creative expression, creating a warm, familial atmosphere and prioritizing the pursuit of learning. Three generations of collective knowledge within the art supply industry runs deep; and for artists and other members of our creative community, it goes a long way. Andrew recalls a heated conversation with a seasoned tattoo artist at a demo they recently put on that explored the art and design styles of tattooing. “He was talking about how tattooing is a traditional art form with hundreds of years of history.” The artist felt that the tradition wasn’t being honored properly by the demo. “When I told him that I’m a third generation future owner of the store and he softened. My name is above the door, my dad’s name, my grandfather’s name… this tradition shows that we are invested, that we care.”

The most rewarding part of his day?

“On a regular basis, we get glowing reviews for our staff. All of our staff are artists; we take our jobs very seriously and we take our customers very seriously. There are people who may shy away from certain things, like exhibiting their work, working with other artists, or doing commissions. [Part of our work is] giving people the confidence they need to bare their souls to others. We do what we can to make their hopes and dreams come true.”

Check out the wonderful work of staff and instructors! From looking at their work online, we can only imagine the impact they have when they bring their expertise and creative energies to the classroom or sales floor. Artists in the Preston Arts staff and instructor community include plein air painter & muralist Catherine Bryant, painter Debra Lott, illustrator Kevlen Goodner, watercolorist Judy Mudd, painter Dawn Johnston, illustrator Harrison Fogle.

Lynn Busch, Andrew’s co-manager and long-time staff member shared her experience as a staff member. Her testimony says it all:

“13 years ago I was looking for a job in the field of art. I had just moved to town, finished up with my teaching degree… I stepped into the shop and it was a full on family atmosphere. That’s what I was looking for: a mom and pop. As I grew with them, it’s one of the most endearing qualities of the store: everyone who works together feels like family. We help each other out. Beyond just staffing, the customers are like family, too. Everybody knows everybody. There’s also always been a very strong push to future educate yourself in whatever ways inspire you. I’m a fiber artist, and I’m an educator for Jacquard products.”

At the T-RExpo. From left to right: Jeremy Miller, Kathy Brennan, Lynn Busch and Andrew Preston

Strong Foundation, With Willingness To Grow…

The common threads that knit Preston’s community together and allow it to flourish: a passion and drive to constantly learn more about the arts paired with an open, “welcome home” attitude that has customers coming back decade after decade. We are already looking forward to the 50th anniversary; by that time Roena will have her own stories to tell!

Ann Walsh: Colors Exhibition Opening Reception

Friday, October 5th, 2018

GOLDEN Artist Colors, Inc.

Ann Walsh: Colors opened last week at The Sam & Adele Golden Gallery (THE SAGG) at Golden Artist Colors. This survey of abstract paintings and sculptures by artist Ann Walsh underscores her commitment to the expressive possibilities of color and her investigations of the use of new materials for making art. Walsh has lived in New York City and maintained a studio there since 1980. An illustrated catalog with an essay by artist and critic Franklin Einspruch entitled, “Ann Walsh’s Mechanics of Color” will be available as well.To learn more about Walsh and her artwork, visit http://www.ann-walsh.com/index.htm. Visit The Sam & Adele Golden Gallery website, www.thesagg.org for more information.

The Sam & Adele Golden Gallery (THE SAGG) at Golden Artist Colors, 188 Bell Road, New Berlin, NY

October 6, 2018 – March 15, 2019

 

Our New WMS is Going Live Oct. 8

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

WMS goes live in Reno as of October 8th, 2018!

We are excited for this new chapter and technological milestone in our company’s history. As you may know, last year we made the decision to upgrade our Warehouse Management System (WMS).  This is the largest technology investment in MacPherson’s history. WMS is the “brains” of our distribution centers that tracks inventory locations and determines how orders are processed and how freight is shipped. We are working with the leader in warehouse software platforms, Manhattan Associates, and our team has devoted hundreds of hours to configuring and testing the system to ensure successful implementation. This innovation strengthens our commitment to service excellence, and we are looking forward to sharing more updates with you.

To learn more, please visit the Announcements page of www.MacPhersonArt.com.

Calling All Staff

Monday, September 24th, 2018

You may have noticed an uptick in posts these last few weeks. With support from your Account Managers and Category Managers, our Creative Services team is revamping and revitalizing Art Dog Blog! In addition to industry news and resources you’ve come to expect, some of the features we are introducing include Who’s Who, an opportunity to feature a member of your staff who is doing an incredible job, Best Practices, where we explore trends, merchandising hacks, demo ideas, and other in-store strategies and of course the Art Dog of the Month. Make sure to share Art Dog with all members of your team, because there is something for everyone.

Have someone on your team who might want to submit? Please send submissions to artdogblog (@) macphersonart.com.

A Letter From Opus Art Supplies

Monday, September 24th, 2018
David van Berckel, Opus Art Supplies

Opus is an independently-owned local business, supplying the visual arts community with art materials, digital printing, picture frames, art education, community support, and more. Founded in 1974, they have grown from a single location framing company to seven stores throughout BC and a Canada-wide mail order service for online & phone orders.

To our valued vendors,

I have known so many of you for decades while I managed to turn a small framing production workshop in Vancouver into a sizeable and important art supply business over the past 50 years or so. But time continues taking a toll on my body and mind and I have decided to pull back from the day-to-day operations of Opus Art Supplies and concentrate primarily on the unique things in the business that sustain my spirit. I am not going away, but I am stepping down as President to become Opus’ Chairperson. I plan to continue working three days a week and will still travel the world seeking new products, exploring innovative ideas and anything else that I bloody-well want to!

Similarly, but more definitively, Opus’ V.P. Scott Cronshaw has decided to step up the pace of his retirement by planning an exit from the company by December 31st of this year. Scott’s wife retired earlier this year and he is jealously resenting her worldwide travels, so it’s catch-up time for him. I would like to thank him for helping guide Opus’ success for the past 34 years.

Fortunately, Opus’ other long-term V.P., Simon Chow, plans to be with us for many years to come and is very much engaged in helping build the business along with a new, yet familiar, team to lead the operations of both Opus and its ‘sister’ wholesale company, Framers Choice.

The ‘new recruit’ in this whole plan has been an active management consultant with Opus over the past 22 years. Tom James will now be leading the company as the CEO/President. Tom has extensive experience in hands-on CEO-level positions and is a specialist in retail. We have some aggressive, but realistic, goals for Opus over the next 5+ years and I am confident that he is the best person to take Opus up to another level.

Supporting Tom on the retail side are a couple of familiar faces to all of you. Both Brian White (as Director of Sales & Marketing) and Susannah Blundell (as Director of Purchasing & Logistics) have earned their new roles and are responsible for the key day-to-day retail operations of Opus. Together, they have 45+ years of experience with Opus and know the business intimately. Opus has always valued promoting from within, and Susannah and Brian are perfect examples of that principle.

If we do not see you on a visit to Opus before the next Namta event in February, you will get an opportunity to meet Tom James there. Susannah, Brian, Scott and I will also be in San Antonio to introduce Tom to all of you in the industry.

Cheers!

David van Berckel

Please contact David at dvb (@) opusartsupplies.com with any comments or questions.

All Hands On Deck: Floods in Madison, WI Impact Wisconsin Craft Market

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018
Catherine Monahon, Copywriter, MacPherson’s

Painting of Madison, Wisconsin by Eric Dowdle

Last month devastating floods in Madison, WI impacted Wisconsin Craft Market – employees walked in to discover several feet of water in the store and an overwhelming amount of damaged product. Their staff banded together for several days of drudgery, with family members and loved ones pitching in.

Recapping the experience on their Facebook page, owner Paul Zarnikow expressed his gratitude for the team of friends and family who made reopening possible.

“Not only did no one complain, the loud laughing and chattering usually heard went on like any other day. I’m lucky to have had these ladies as employees for so many years, luckier still to have them as friends.”

Once they got the water under control, they opened up shop while they finished the rest of the clean up. Their first group of customers?

“We had a large group of ladies from the Chicago area who had planned a Madison yarn crawl for the day so they shopped while we mopped. I can’t tell you how nice it was to talk with fun customers again after the last few days. They were great, but I’m sure less than impressed with our dress code!”

To learn more about the flooding in Southern Wisconsin and read about way to help, click here.

Ben Franklin Bonney Lake & Montana Cans

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018
Catherine Monahon, Copywriter, MacPherson’s

Ben Franklin Crafts & Frame Shop Bonney Lake, Washington, collaborated with Montana Artist Devin Finley to transform the formerly drab graffiti walls of the local Skate Park in town into an outdoor gallery of street art!

In collaboration with the community of Tehaleh and Montana Artist Devin Finley, Ben Franklin Bonney Lake’s goal was to get more people aware of the Montana spray paint in the community while improving a community space with art. Staff member Colleen coordinated the event with the community director of a local skate park.

Over 50 people attended the event, which featured live painting by Devin, music, snacks and of course the built-in entertainment of the skate park itself. Before painting, Devin explained his plan to onlookers and sat with young artists to each them techniques and strategies for creating their own artwork. The event was a success, engaging community, sparking curiosity about Montana Cans and drawing people into the store.

LenzArts’ 50th Anniversary, a.k.a. “Lenz Arts Week” As Pronounced By Santa Cruz Mayor

Monday, September 17th, 2018

On the left, community members playing with POSCA and painting rocks primed with Montana spray paint; On the right, Lulu, the youngest Lenz!

Catherine Monahon, Copywriter, MacPherson’s

LenzArts went all out for their 50th Anniversary August 4th. Their family business has survived and thrived despite fire, flood and earthquake. Over the decades they have become embedded in the community. Three generations of the Lenz family participated in the event, which included a Vendor’s Fair and a storewide sale. They set up twelve interactive stations of different make and takes as well as demos with reps and artists. People enjoyed free face painting, raffles, a homemade fishing booth and a Wheel of Fortune. They also invited Santa Cruz Art League rep to talk to community members; the current generation’s great-grandmother, Leonora Naylor Penniman, was one of the founders of the league in 1919. Her artwork and bio were on display to honor the artistic roots of LenzArts and inspire curiosity about the league.

Diane Bokulich, a member of the Lenz family, sees the event as more than an anniversary event; it was an homage to community and creativity.

“We wanted to thank the community for their support, give back to them and celebrate art. People were thrilled to be immersed in art for a day. You could feel the joy of creativity and the fun of being together connecting to the world of art in an interactive, hands on setting, experimenting with art supplies and talking with artist and reps, gleaning their expertise. It was exciting–we had all ages there! I heard parents and grandparents say how great it was to have their kids “unplugged”. In our family tradition of gathering for fellowship and food, we BBQ’d ourselves, giving out hundreds of hot dogs while my teenage daughter made hundreds of snow cones made to order. Nine of the grandkids were there serving, ages 8 to 23; all of my siblings were there, even from out of town. We had three generations of family there helping all day.”

Matthew Lenz, Cynthia Lenz, Andy Lenz Sr., Mayor David Terrazas, and Andrew Lenz Jr.

We congratulate LenzArts on bringing their community together through creativity, incorporating something for everyone and on decades of success in the art supply industry!

Chameleon Rebranded

Tuesday, August 28th, 2018
Catherine Monahon, MacPherson’s Copywriter & Chameleon Art Products

Chameleon shared a recent press release with us announcing the rebranding of their products and their website  – aiming for a fresh look and user-friendly design. Read on for highlights about these changes:

“We strive to keep pushing the boundaries so you can develop your talents even further. We want to help you unlock all the colors hidden inside your art tools. And that’s what our rebranding and “Changing Color” is all about.”

Chameleon changed the website’s look based on the creative community’s feedback.

“Chameleon should be a place for like-minded individuals to share ideas, brainstorm and be inspired by each other. Inspiration can come from anywhere and we want to help fuel that. It starts by celebrating the world of color and art. Art is all about being creative and thinking outside of the box. Our unique tools produce unique results and we want to keep it that way.”

Lush with color and content, Chameleon’s website is chock full of artistic resources. We particularly like how the information is laid out, with a consistent color palette that highlights the gradients and unique combinations so signature to Chameleon products.

“We are inventors with new ideas. The Chameleon team never stops thinking, inventing, testing and researching new concepts. Our rebranding signals a new chapter for us. It’s the start of the next part of our growth and pushing the medium to the maximum. We could not have done it without all of you in our Creative Community. So thank you all. Your contributions are what drive our company forward.”

They are offering 55% off through MacPherson’s just in time for back to school! Terms and conditions apply – offer is valid till September 13th.

GOLDEN Educator Residents & Top Finalists Announced!

Monday, August 27th, 2018
Golden Artist Colors

Golden Artist Colors and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018 GOLDEN Educators Residency! Three educators will be invited to participate in a two-week artists’ residency through the Sam & Adele Golden Foundation in a sylvan setting in upstate New York. They will also each receive a gift certificate for $1,000 for GOLDEN paints.

Geeta Dave, Power of Intuition, Acrylic paint, 30’ x 30’, 2018

Geeta Dave

from Prairieville, Louisiana

Glasgow Middle School

 

2017, acrylic, pastel, ink, painted and collaged paper, canvas, and felt on panel, 46” X 46”

Kevin Kelly

from Wichita, Kansas

Wichita West High School

 

“During the spring of 2014 I made a promise to my AP Studio Art students that I’d paint a portrait of them if they passed the AP Studio Art portfolio review.” 2015, oil painting

Brian Payne

from Yukon, Oklahoma

Yukon High School

Collectively, these three educators have been teaching for close to 60 years. Learn more about their work here. The Alliance partnered with the National Art Education Association to review the applications to the residency – in addition to the three residents selected, nine additional finalists (who made the decision-making process particularly challenging) were identified; they will also receive $1,000 gift certificates for GOLDEN paints:

Lynn Bennett-Carpenter, Bloomfield Hills, MI

Rouzanna Berberian, Monrovia, CA

Cynthia Berger, Minneapolis, MN

Amy Bouse, Inglewood, CA

Caitlin Clifford, Cortlandt Manor, NY

Elaine Florimonte, South Riding, VA

Todd Johnson, Knoxville, TN

Christina Keith, Prior Lake, MN

Shannon McBride, West Linn, OR

Learn more about the GOLDEN Educator’s Residency here.

Golden Welcomes New Education Director Stacy Rosende

Monday, August 27th, 2018
Golden Artist Colors

Golden welcomes Stacy Rosende as its new Education Director, who oversees all Golden Artist Colors education programs as well as the development of new strategies and platforms. Kevin Greeland will continue to lead the Working Artist and Artist Educator programs and serve as the key contact for lecture demo activities.

Stacy Rosende is a visual artist and educator from Florida where she ran an award-winning art program in a public high school, maintained her personal studio practice and exhibited works internationally. She discovered her interest in education while working towards her Masters in Fine Arts degree at Boston University. Stacy has taught students in the visual arts at every level, from primary to post-secondary. She has a proven track record of success and looks forward to utilizing those resources at Golden Artist Colors. She is accompanied on this new adventure by her daughter Maya and her husband Cezary who will be key partners in the restoration of their new home, an old Victorian farmhouse. They are particularly excited to convert their barn to a workshop and studio that will house their endless creative endeavors!

Lasting Impact: Make It A 2-Day Event – Community Engagement at Dots ‘N Doodles

Monday, August 27th, 2018
Catherine Monahon, MacPherson’s Copywriter

(From left to right) Tim Masuelli, Owner of Dots N Doodles, Dennis Metcalf, Key Account Manger at Royal Talens, Tiffany Mang, Loving Vincent Artist, Scott Leahing, Owner of Dots N Doodles and Charlene Mosely, Loving Vincent Artist

Dots ‘N Doodles Art Supply in Astoria, Oregon recently hosted a two part event honoring the work of Vincent Van Gogh and encouraging modern day oil painters! Staff kicked off the event by showing the movie Loving Vincent on Friday night, with a workshop led by artists Charlene Mosely and Tiffanie Mang, who worked on the set of the movie. The event sold out, and there was so much interest that they added an additional workshop later in the weekend. With an Art Alternatives canvas roll, Rembrandt oil paints and effusive enthusiasm, artists created a large scale painting in the iconic style of Van Gogh. Dennis Metcalf, sales representative for Royal Talens was integral in the planning process and was able to attend, adding his expertise to the mix. Customers left with a deeper understanding of Royal Talens line of products and the inspiration to embark on their own colorful journeys. The event was also supported by Art Alternatives and Princeton Brushes.

Jerry’s Artarama of Hartford, CT Turns 25

Monday, August 27th, 2018
Catherine Monahon, MacPherson’s Copywriter

Jerry’s Artarama of Hartford, CT celebrates its 25th anniversary! Owners Jeff and Susan Shoham were featured in the Hartford Courant in an article that details their incredible journey, from building their business from the ground up to becoming a community staple as the go-to art supply store for creative endeavors in Elmwood. They celebrated the big 25 with a 25% off sale over the weekend, door prizes and of course, cake.

Left to right: Chet Terry, General Manager, AJ Shoham , Store Manager, Jeffrey Shoham, Owner

When thinking back on the the years of hard work that brought the business to where it is today, Jeff reflected on the rewarding moments that make everything worth it.

“Talking with customers. My time is limited, but I love being on the floor, still. Especially the students… to see them come in as freshmen, you see them develop over the years.”

When we take a moment to celebrate anniversaries, it’s not only a chance to reflect on our accomplishments and progress… it is a way to connect with community and strengthen relationships with customers.

One woman at Jerry’s Artarama’s 25th celebration came up to shake Jeff’s hand: she had been at the store the day it opened and had watched the store evolve and change… for all 25 years. We are looking forward to celebrating more anniversaries with our retailers!

Concrete Jungle Sparks Imagination: New Forstall Art Mural

Monday, August 27th, 2018
Catherine Monahon, MacPherson’s Copywriter

Murals are a wonderful way to support local artists, draw attention to your store and jostle people out of their everyday routine. A drab concrete wall becomes a photo opportunity, an invitation to reflect, or a celebration of your town or city’s personality. Phillip Forstall, owner of Forstall Art Center in Birmingham, Alabama, recently installed a mural in collaboration with Shane B., a local muralist and tattoo artist. The jungle scene is vibrant and full of life. We wanted to learn more about how the mural came to be and its effect on the community and gave Phillip a call to learn more.

Who created this mural? Why this design?

The mural was designed by Shane, a local artist. He’s a longtime friend and customer. My wife Annette and child Andy asked him to create an interactive mural. They wanted a mural with a path so people could take fun photos. Annette and Andy created the design, so it was really an inhouse project. Shane did all the painting. Many of his friends stopped by with food and company.

What do you like best about it?

It’s hard to choose! I love that people interact with the mural and don’t realize that there’s a wild kitty lurking above them. I love that people stop all the time to get their picture taken. Finally, I love that we have some color brightening our space. All the blank walls downtown can get monotonous.

Have you gotten any feedback from the community / new or repeat customers?

Yes! They love it! They want more! People tag us on Instagram a lot. We can’t wait to commission more murals.

Industry News – June 2018

Saturday, June 30th, 2018

New Officers at iAmArt

iAMart is a coalition of independent, locally-owned art-materials stores committed to helping artists of all experience levels succeed by helping them purchase the best supplies for their individual needs.

  • President: Nick Gallo of Blue Rooster Art Supplies
  • Vice President:  Victor Davis of Spokane Art 
  • Treasurer: Scott Rote of Herweck’s
  • Secretary: Jessica Dumitru of Art Creations 
  • Vendor Chair:  Dan Ebert of Central Art Supply
  • Asst. Vendor  Chair:  Luke Randall of Endeavors
  • Membership Chair:  Kate Mitchell of Arch Art and Drafting
  • Past President: Kathy Brennan of Preston Arts Center

Art Community Rallies Around Walnut Studios After Fire

Oftentimes retailers in the art business have the privilege of forming relationships with local artist collectives, non-profits and studios. One of the organizations Curry’s works with in Toronto, Walnut Studios, experienced a fire on May 19th. Thankfully nobody was injured, but the fire has displaced the 45 artists who rented studio space out of this facility. At least 22 artists lost artwork as well as art materials housed on the premises. Curry’s has offered the artists $5,000 in Gift certificates to help them restock their studios and continue their studio practices. Donate to their GoFundMe and learn more about the artists here.