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Art on Stone adapts to overcome pandemic challenges (4 photos) – OrilliaMatters

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It’s Small Business Week in Ontario. To celebrate, the Township of Oro-Medonte is turning the spotlight on five innovative small businesses that epitomize this year’s theme of entrepreneurial resilience and adaptation in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. The second of five articles, submitted by the township, focuses on Art on Stone.

Art on Stone is a Horseshoe Valley-based studio which turns treasured photographs into beautiful pieces of stone art using a unique printing technique.

Images can be provided by the customer or selected from a professional image library and then carefully printed on natural stone to make a unique keepsake or gift. Art on Stone specializes in high quality trivets, coasters and larger stone art.

It has been a challenging year for Art on Stone business owner Jan Novak who, prior to COVID-19, built his business by selling products at popular markets, festivals and retail stores.

At events like The Images Studio Tour, Muskoka Arts Festival, Bala Cranberry Festival and regional Christmas markets, customers could see, touch and feel his unique product.

Yet once these sales channels were suddenly eliminated, Art on Stone had to pivot quickly in order to keep the business going strong.

“COVID-19 forced us to rethink our marketing approach to selling our art online,” said Novak. “Our 2020 business plan, marketing plans and budget had to be completely revised. New ways of selling our product had to be created…from scratch.”

Over the winter and spring months, Novak spent countless hours working with web designers and e-commerce experts to build an innovative new website that allows people to upload their images and place orders for his stone art products virtually.

Novak revamped his website to allow users to create custom designs, and see how they look before confirming the order. Users can upload images that they wanted printed on stone, and place orders virtually.

Customers can select free curbside pickup or opt for flat fee shipping to most locations in Canada and the U.S.. He even added a YouTube tutorial video to help people understand the site better.

Building a boutique e-commerce site from scratch was a real learning curve for Novak, who had earlier plans to do this but never a sense of urgency to get it done. 

“We did extensive research over the internet to see how other unique and custom gift production companies designed their website in way that was attractive, engaging and easy to use,” he said. “Changes were being done daily and the launch had to be delayed until we were comfortable and satisfied with the design.”

During the summer Art On Stone helped to organize a fundraiser called Home Made Masks for Home Town Heroes. The fundraiser offered custom designed coasters with a special design to honour frontline workers in Barrie and Simcoe North. Some proceeds of these limited edition products were donated to a local food bank.

In the future, Novak plans to expand these special offerings and work with other groups, organizations and charities where he can provide assistance with raising funds and continue to give back to the community.

Check out Art on Stone at www.artonstone.com.

 

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Expanding the arts and culture sector in Newfoundland and Labrador – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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The spotlights inside Newfoundland and Labrador theatres have rarely gone this long without heating up and wrapping the province’s performers in light. Gone is the audible applause of the audience, now stuck in their homes in front of a screen.

As performers are forced to find new ways to share their work with the public, the delivery of a promised increase in provincial funding to ArtsNL is a relief to many who work in the arts.

Reg Winsor, executive director at ArtsNL, said that for a number of years ArtsNL had been communicating with the government about an increase in grant applications.

“The number of applications that we were receiving, the demand on the funds that were available … we only had the ability to fund a percentage of the projects that were being submitted,” Winsor said. “Through conversations with the community, we indicated where we were and the funding that really was needed for us to move forward, and the community rallied behind that.”

Courtney Brown, artistic associate with theatre company Mindless Theatrics, was involved in those conversations. She says ArtsNL is often an entry point for young artists.

And there is no shortage of emerging artists in the province.

“There were also new companies and new festivals springing up, which is fantastic, but there weren’t the funds there to support the growth of the community,” Brown said.

Alongside fellow theatre producer Robert Chafe, Brown and many others petitioned the provincial government to fund arts and culture, which is so often promoted in tourism ads alongside images of pastoral scenes, icebergs, puffins and houses of all colours.

The response was an increase in funding from $2 million per year to $5 million per year over a four-year period that began in 2019. All political parties in the province agreed to the increase.

“(Chafe) called it a game-changing investment and I think that’s true,” Brown said. “It’s a groundbreaking step that will have reverberating effects on the culture of this place for a generation.”

Daniel Rumbolt, interim director of Eastern Edge Gallery in downtown St. John’s, said that if it weren’t for government funding, he has no idea how his career would have progressed.

“Art projects are expensive for materials and studio space, but it’s the mentality here that art actually does equal work,” Rumbolt said. “I would have stagnated very quickly if I wasn’t able to try new things and apply for funding.”

It’s easy to see the role art plays in the community just by taking a casual stroll through downtown, looking at the painted alleyways, the murals on the sides of buildings or simply on the clothes that people wear, he said.

But it is sometimes taken for granted how that art got there in the first place.

“We’re used to seeing the final product in a gallery or in a shop somewhere,” he said. “We love to celebrate our tourism industry and our arts and culture industry, and that doesn’t come out of nowhere. It takes a lot of hard work to make it happen.”

Chafe, who is the artistic director of Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland, says he’s happy to see, despite a change in leadership, Premier Andrew Furey is honouring the commitment by announcing on Nov. 25 this year’s funding increase of $1 million.

“Everyone knows the circumstance that our province is in, so the artists of this province certainly weren’t making this ask lightly,” Chafe said. “But government’s own numbers were such that their investment in arts and culture was coming back at least ten-fold.”

Chafe says they didn’t encounter anyone who didn’t understand the value of the arts and culture sector, but an argument had to be put forward specifically about ArtsNL.

“It is one of the few arms-length government agencies that is directly putting money into the coffers of small, unaffiliated, independent artists, for the creation of artwork that eventually, if successful, goes on to make the albums, the films, the theatre shows, the dance shows that create the cultural landmark that is Newfoundland,” he said. “When we made that case very carefully, we made the case for the growth in the sector, and they heard us.”

Andrew Waterman reports on East Coast culture.

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Stephenville's Jesse Renouf finds a story behind the art – SaltWire Network

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Jesse Renouf, 23, has found a way to channel his creative energies and make a living for himself.

His art store, Treasures by Jesse, first opened in Stephenville in June 2017.

Run by Jesse and his family, the store offers a wide array of Jesse’s art, including pebble art, paintings, painted mailboxes, tissue boxes, and more.

While Jesse always had an interest in art, his passion was piqued while completing the Film and Video Production program at the College of the North Atlantic just three years ago.

“Within Film and Video, there was an art course and he loved it,” said Jesse’s mother Judy.

Jesse Renouf proudly shows off one of the walls of art displayed at Treasures by Jesse. CONTRIBUTED – Contributed

 

The family was able to draw on Jesse’s newfound passion to open Treasures by Jesse once he completed the program later the same year.

“We started Googling ideas and that’s where he started with the basic pebble, and then started trying more challenging pieces,” said Judy. “Three years later, here we are.”

The store also provides Jesse, who has autism, an opportunity to socialize – he gets to interact with customers and engage in conversation.

In fact, he has a table set up at the store and often lets visitors watch him paint to give them a sense of the process.

“It gives customers an idea what the story is all about when it comes to painting,” he said.

When he sells a painting, it makes him feel appreciated.

“I feel very proud when someone comes in and buys my artwork and they’re happy,” he said.

Jesse speaks passionately about his work. He is always able to find a story behind the art.

For example, he talks imaginatively of how a painting of a clothesline evokes familiarity to any Newfoundlander.

“It gives customers attention to a type of chore that can be done on a beautiful day outside,” he said. “Hanging the laundry, drying over time. There’s the grass, the waves, the wind blowing the clothes in a breeze. It’s a very beautiful type of day outside, you can tell in this type of pebble artwork.”

Other paintings depict Newfoundland touchstones, including mummers, jellybean row, fishing boats and lighthouses – in each case, Jesse perceives the history behind the object.

He also loves to paint beloved cartoon characters such as Elmo, Spongebob Squarepants, and Homer Simpson.

Some of the art displayed at Treasures by Jesse. CONTRIBUTED - Contributed
Some of the art displayed at Treasures by Jesse. CONTRIBUTED – Contributed

 

Teamwork

Treasures by Jesse is run as a team, with the assistance of Jesse’s mom Judy, his dad Wayne, and his co-worker Trudie Jesso.

“We are working together to make my business stronger,” said Jesse.

The first step is buying the canvasses. Jesse does all the painting on these.

For the pebble art, Jesse and Trudie work together to construct the painting and piece the materials – including pebbles, sea glass, and driftwood – together.

According to Jesse, it’s like putting together a jigsaw puzzle.

The paintings are left to dry and then Judy is tasked with coating the paintings.

Meanwhile, Wayne does all the woodworking.

The pebbles, sea glass and driftwood used in Jesse’s art is collected along the beaches.

Cleaning and sanitizing these materials is part of the process.

Local residents also donate materials. Judy felt this was indicative of the type of support Jesse gets from the community.

“People do support him,” she said.

Treasures by Jesse is open year-round.

Art can be purchased in-person at the store, located at 143 Main St. in Stephenville, or ordered for shipping online.

To learn more about Treasures by Jesse, visit www.treasuresbyjesse.com


Behind the Business is a regular feature that introduces you to local businesspeople. Want to suggest someone that should be featured? Email your idea to [email protected]

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Stephenville's Jesse Renouf finds a story behind the art – The Journal Pioneer

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Jesse Renouf, 23, has found a way to channel his creative energies and make a living for himself.

His art store, Treasures by Jesse, first opened in Stephenville in June 2017.

Run by Jesse and his family, the store offers a wide array of Jesse’s art, including pebble art, paintings, painted mailboxes, tissue boxes, and more.

While Jesse always had an interest in art, his passion was piqued while completing the Film and Video Production program at the College of the North Atlantic just three years ago.

“Within Film and Video, there was an art course and he loved it,” said Jesse’s mother Judy.

Jesse Renouf proudly shows off one of the walls of art displayed at Treasures by Jesse. CONTRIBUTED – Contributed

 

The family was able to draw on Jesse’s newfound passion to open Treasures by Jesse once he completed the program later the same year.

“We started Googling ideas and that’s where he started with the basic pebble, and then started trying more challenging pieces,” said Judy. “Three years later, here we are.”

The store also provides Jesse, who has autism, an opportunity to socialize – he gets to interact with customers and engage in conversation.

In fact, he has a table set up at the store and often lets visitors watch him paint to give them a sense of the process.

“It gives customers an idea what the story is all about when it comes to painting,” he said.

When he sells a painting, it makes him feel appreciated.

“I feel very proud when someone comes in and buys my artwork and they’re happy,” he said.

Jesse speaks passionately about his work. He is always able to find a story behind the art.

For example, he talks imaginatively of how a painting of a clothesline evokes familiarity to any Newfoundlander.

“It gives customers attention to a type of chore that can be done on a beautiful day outside,” he said. “Hanging the laundry, drying over time. There’s the grass, the waves, the wind blowing the clothes in a breeze. It’s a very beautiful type of day outside, you can tell in this type of pebble artwork.”

Other paintings depict Newfoundland touchstones, including mummers, jellybean row, fishing boats and lighthouses – in each case, Jesse perceives the history behind the object.

He also loves to paint beloved cartoon characters such as Elmo, Spongebob Squarepants, and Homer Simpson.

Some of the art displayed at Treasures by Jesse. CONTRIBUTED - Contributed
Some of the art displayed at Treasures by Jesse. CONTRIBUTED – Contributed

 

Teamwork

Treasures by Jesse is run as a team, with the assistance of Jesse’s mom Judy, his dad Wayne, and his co-worker Trudie Jesso.

“We are working together to make my business stronger,” said Jesse.

The first step is buying the canvasses. Jesse does all the painting on these.

For the pebble art, Jesse and Trudie work together to construct the painting and piece the materials – including pebbles, sea glass, and driftwood – together.

According to Jesse, it’s like putting together a jigsaw puzzle.

The paintings are left to dry and then Judy is tasked with coating the paintings.

Meanwhile, Wayne does all the woodworking.

The pebbles, sea glass and driftwood used in Jesse’s art is collected along the beaches.

Cleaning and sanitizing these materials is part of the process.

Local residents also donate materials. Judy felt this was indicative of the type of support Jesse gets from the community.

“People do support him,” she said.

Treasures by Jesse is open year-round.

Art can be purchased in-person at the store, located at 143 Main St. in Stephenville, or ordered for shipping online.

To learn more about Treasures by Jesse, visit www.treasuresbyjesse.com


Behind the Business is a regular feature that introduces you to local businesspeople. Want to suggest someone that should be featured? Email your idea to [email protected]

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