It’s hard to miss Artmart: Pollock-esque splatters of paint cover its bright-red exterior. Inside, its just as striking. Artists of all disciplines draw from the art superstore’s wealth of supplies and skills to further their next projects. Thousands of colors of paints, pencils, and sculpting materials are in stock here, as well as brushes, easels, canvas and a vast paper selection.
As a locally owned creative marketplace, Artmart has a number of divisions in its store depending on your artistic needs: you can immortalize your pieces and prints at the Framing Center, or stock up on colorful cards, stationery, and decorative paper at the paper boutique. Children as young as three can sign up for the store’s small-group classes, which cover various media including painting, sketching, and sculpting skills. You can be inspired at their Studio which boasts a host of events from fine art adult classes to craft workshops to creative birthday parties.
Led by Tom and Donna Otis, Fast Frame Charlottesville's friendly staffers outfit pictures and beautifies abodes with ensembles that turn two-dimensional keepsakes into multidimensional treasures. With a vast selection of borders, Fast Frame tastefully accents pictures of cherished memories, safely preserves and displays sports memorabilia, and even frames flat-screen TVs so they can't leave the living room to go chill with the microwave. Under Fast Frame’s Preservation Plus program, frame craftsmen sequester artwork in an acid-free environment and use framing designed to save artifacts from UV light, ensuring that they retain their luster throughout their display and that they are safe for future removal.
Greek Gear, which was featured on CNBC's The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, slaps sorority and fraternity letters and crests on a multitude of merchandise, including sweatshirts, hats, bags, and more. After browsing through nearly 9,000 products, members of societies can customize bags and shirts with screen-print graphics, such as a sorority slogan or a sun smoking a cigar, or purchase a premade item. A mirrored Greek paddle ($44.95) allows for easy navigation of rivers, a pair of Toegoz flip-flops($19.95) keeps feet glass-free, and a classic bowling shirt ($45.95) provides a sense of togetherness when throwing balls at pins or challenging the other team to a handsome contest.
Shanea Favre's foray into photography began as an admirer. She appreciated a snapshot's ability to freeze a moment in time for all posterity. As soon as she got behind the camera, she knew instantly it would become her career. Now the owner of An Inspired Portrait, she gets to spend her days capturing memories for others in her studio or at a location of her clients' choice. She shoots images in crystal-clear high-resolution during sessions for families, children, couples, and moms-to-be. With the same passion and attention to detail, she also photographs major life milestones, such as weddings or a baby's first triple Lutz.
JoVonda Winters, owner of JoMonique Photography, works to capture and immortalize special moments and connections during photo shoots. She snaps shots of events such as weddings and engagements. She also takes portraits of babies, kids, families, and expectant mothers. Following the photo shoots, she offers personalized photos and DVDs of the images.
Given The Bead Place's packed class calendar, it's a wonder the store doesn't grant degrees. If it could, customers who attend workshops regularly could have earned PhDs by now in subjects ranging from knitting and felting to silversmithing and metalwork. The scope of these skills is too broad for only a few people to handle teaching, so fortunately, the store employs more than a dozen instructors and doesn't count on a swamp creature with a giant, pulsing brain to do all the work. These staffers are experts in their respective crafts; Kara Jacob's beading work was highlighted in a Bead and Button magazine's "best of" volume, and Abbi Berta has been published as a designer in multiple magazines.
When students need materials for one of these workshops, the obvious spot to look is The Bead Place itself. The store carries semi-precious stones, vintage glass, Swarovski Crystal, and hundreds of types of yarn. It also supplies kits, patterns, and tools such as brass wire brushes and jeweler's saws.