Please don't feel uncomfortable! We want you to come in, it makes our day!
Growing up in Monroe I had big dreams to move away and have a huge creative carrier. I wanted to be an artist, ballerina, singer, actress, or fashion designer. And every adult I knew told me I would have to move to a big city to do this. So that was my plan, I was ready to get out as fast as I could.
This is something very common for our community. We have a lot of people who move here because we have a low housing market and low taxes and we are a pretty community with good schools. But when the kids graduate they head out of town, and then many of the parents follow.
Due to life events I never had that chance to leave. Sort of like George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life". Every year I watch that move and the older I get the more I realize him and I are on the same path. We both had big dreams to leave but life kept us home. And we both have businesses we are extremely dedicated to, and strive to use our businesses to make the community better....and we both have to fight a very hard struggle to keep to our mission.
Art is a hard sell for our community. The adults of my childhood voice's haunt me weekly, sometimes daily.
They believed our community wouldn't support creative businesses. But I am headstrong, and passionate, and can't stop being a creative person. So where we were lacking I am attempting to create!
I have attempted to create a space in our community that highlights the beauty of art! I swap out shows monthly or bimonthly, I schedule classes, and create work to share with Monroe. I want you to feel at home and welcome when you come in!
One of us will greet you with a smile and say Hi, but then we are going to let you look, and we will work. We may check back in with you to make sure you are feeling taken care of, but you have all the time in the world to mosey. Enjoy yourself! If you want to stop and stair at one piece of art for 20 minutes that is totally fine! If you want to pick up the pottery that is fine too!
And if you want to bring the kids in, they are welcome to come in! We have crayons, markers, and doodle tops out for them to play with! And sometimes we have stickers and snacks too!
We want you to see what a little time from someone else's life can create. The beauty of something made with a person's hands, love, practice, and dedication.
We want you to take classes, and enjoy! Will you make a masterpiece in your first class.....maybe....but probably not. But neither did any of the artists who display and sell work at the gallery. All of us had to learn through lots of fails. So discouragement isn't encouraged. But growth, insight, creative thinking is what you will gain from visiting the AIE or taking a class.
I'm glad I stayed here in Monroe, I am thrilled to have opened up a space like the AIE here in our Downtown. I am so excited to see other creative businesses and artists grow around me. My kids dance at the RRCA so we see first hand the growth of that establishment and how it teaches the students about beauty in art, but also the youth in our community.
And I love the remodeling Jake and I have made to the buildings we own in the Downtown. They are like artwork, as they slowly transform from old and run down into beautiful new spaces the community buzzes around them. And positive growth continues.