Some of the great benefits of being involved in the community of artists and art-materials manufacturers are the friendships we establish. Our lives are enriched by the members of the art organizations we join, the collectors who acquire our work, the people we stand next to in workshops, the teachers who educate us, and the individuals who manufacture and sell the products we need. Those are the folks with whom we share a joyous, satisfying, purposeful experience while creating art, and those are the people who best understand why we are excited about that experience.
Among the art-material retailers who are valued friends of thousands of artists is Joe Miller, the owner of Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff, in Boone, North Carolina. Joe will celebrate his 70th birthday on February 17, 2009, and I am one of the thousands of people who wish him well and thank him for the support he has offered so many of us.
As you probably know, Joe was a pharmacist who took an interest in watercolor painting and started selling a few art supplies in a corner of his store. Gradually that corner expanded to become an international retail, mail-order, and online business of art supplies and workshops. The one aspect of the business that never changed is the personal attention, fairness, and humor that Joe instills in every aspect of his company’s operation. His annual catalog is filled with family photographs, jokes, anecdotal remarks, and paintings, as well as helpful information about products. Joe supports dozens of juried art shows, educational programs, and conferences. His lectures to local, state, and national art groups are always informative, humorous, and inspiring.
Of course there are many other art-material retailers and manufacturers who provide valuable assistance and support to practicing artists, and I’m sure you have developed friendships with a number of those people. I’m also certain you recognize the contributions made by other friends who offer support, motivation, direction, and companionship.
I invite you to say “thank you” to the friends, such as Joe Miller, who have enriched your life and made it possible to create and display your artwork.
M. Stephen Doherty