Keychains all donated by Anne Arundel County Artists - being sold to generate additional revenues that support the arts...
Talk about unlocking artistic potential.
Published August 17, 2008
Talk about unlocking artistic potential.
April Nyman mulled several ideas to spread the word about local talent when she took over the executive director's post at the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County earlier this year. But she has her 9-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, to thank for one of her first initiatives - art key chains.
Each key chain - there are 12 in all - features a digitally reduced reproduction of a painting on paper that's then covered in plastic.
"I think they've just lovely, and people are excited," Mrs. Nyman said. "It's a neat way to create awareness."
The genesis for the project was a fund-raiser at Elizabeth's school. Elizabeth and her classmates at Davidsonville Elementary School painted pictures last year, and parents were given the option of purchasing the artwork on everything from T-shirts to mugs, Mrs. Nyman said. One of the other items that she could have chosen was a key chain, and she drew on that idea when she started the council job in January.
The next thing Mrs. Nyman did was look for artists to feature, eventually choosing six - Christalene
Karaiskakis, Marietta Schreiber, Rob Levit, Gail Coe, Yumi Hogan and Kristine Kowalski. "It's more visible (than an exhibit)," said Ms. Karaiskakis, of Arnold. "You carry your keys everywhere."
The remaining artists whose work was selected for the key chains are all students. Five were selected from winners of a countywide student art contest. The last remaining slot went to Elizabeth.
"It's really fun and (I'm) very happy," she said, holding the key chain that bears her Picasso-esque painting.
The rising fourth-grader added she'd either like to be an artist or a veterinarian when she grows up.
Her mother has sold about 50 key chains in the couple weeks they've been available, and the concept is already so popular among local artists that she has a waiting list of potential candidates if she decides to add a second run in the future. The key chains cost $5 apiece.
"I think (they) make you feel good when you look at them," Mrs. Nyman said. "They're beautiful images (and) I think it'll spur interest in so many ways."
The problem with an art exhibit is that someone has to travel to it, and by its very nature the paintings remain at the venue. A print or a poster gets an aficionado a little closer to bringing the art home with them, but it also must remain at home.
With the key chains, the art goes where you go, said Mr. Levit, an Annapolis resident whose "Earth River" is one of the featured paintings. The abstract work, which he said "is all about water and flow," serves as the cover image for one of his CDs, "Touch the Spirit." Mr. Levit is also a well-known jazz guitarist.
"It's a good example of getting artists involved outside of the usual way, and getting art to the people in a less formal way," he said.
Added Ms. Karaiskakis, whose "Sunny Eyes" is a play on yin and yang, "It's an honor for people to carry your art. It's a conversation piece."
It's also quite affordable, said Ms. Kowalski, whose "Hush" is a bold abstract.
Ms. Coe, whose watercolor "Spring Peonies" also graces a key chain, said the only thing better would be if people could somehow smell the flowers.
She and the other artists were elated student works were chosen to be on the key chains along with their paintings. They said it was a good way to showcase the art curriculum in county schools, as well as what could be the next generation of artists.
"They're priceless," Ms. Coe said, glancing at the key chains featuring student artwork. "What grandma wouldn't be thrilled to have one?"
The key chains are available by calling the arts council at 410-222-7949, or by visiting its office at 2666 Riva Road, Suite 150. The office is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. For more information on the council, visit the Web site at www.annearundelartscouncil. org. The key chains should be available online after Sept. 1.