Inspiration struck the summer of 2012, my family and I were hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. I was sixteen at the time, home schooled and had a love for anything artistic. On a “zero day” spent with my grandfather, he presented me with the question that would resonate with me until I found my answer. The daunting “Where do you see yourself in five years?” question. Being carefree at the time and filled with the exhilaration and the freedom that the P.C.T had intoxicated me with, I had a very poor (and quite honestly embarrassing) answer, my grandfather simply chuckled, pat my shoulder, and told me to think over my answer awhile longer. The next day we hit the trail again, but the question was relentless and had me thinking constantly about who I wanted to be and where I wanted to be in five years.
As the trail went on my thoughts would wander. I always knew I wanted to be self-employed, because it would give me the freedom to set my own hours, work on my own schedule, and allow me the freedom to continue pursuing my passion of long distance backpacking. Being a home schooled teenager growing up near a college town also presented very few opportunities for non-school related activities. So, as I was hiking along I mentioned to my mom how great it would be to have a place where young adults and kids could work on art projects, collaborate and learn with other people similar in mindset. A place to have the opportunity to learn arts from local community mentors. My parents took such a liking to this idea that they encouraged me to write a business plan. By doing this I learned what I would need to begin my own business. As luck would have it our family has a historical building in the downtown district of Chico California. A huge house in need of remodeling and because of its age some extra TLC. As it turned out at the end of our hike the college students who had lived there for the duration of their education had graduated and moved on. Their presence had left the building with many superficial damages that would take a bit of time and money to repair. So my parents gave me the option to do the remodeling and when all was finished I would rent the space for my art studio.
When we returned home from our hike, I dove into building my own business. The building was in very rough shape and had been through many beer pong sloshing parties, poor pool playing window busters, and drunken darts. My family and friends helped me bring back the dignity to this beautiful Victorian house. This was my education for the last year of high school. The business plan, permits and research is what my mom used as my curriculum. The hardest part was naming my business, suggestions such as; Tions(??) , Fourth Street Art Studio, The Studio, or the name my teacher came up with and was quite proud of “ The Whole Kit and Kaboodle” (don’t get me wrong, its charming, but not very applicable). We finally found one that seemed to embody the idea of my business: The Fourth Street Art Guild.
It has been three years since we began remodeling, and one year being officially open as a Guild. The building has been restored to its near former glory and its charms enhanced and greatly appreciated. We have gained new guild members, our youngest of which is ten years old, grown as artists, and have had a very positive reaction from the community. We have been successful at selling our pieces to boutiques both in California as well as out of state, along the way passing on our knowledge of our craft to others so they can enjoy them as much as we do. I look forward to growing with my business and watching my vision become a reality.
Our future goals include attaining more guild members, adding classes to our venue, and travelling the countryside looking for heritage crafts that are beginning to vanish in a world full of technology.
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