Cherished Friends in the Art Community

2 Mar 2009

Some of the great benefits of being involved in the community of artists and art-materials manufacturers are the friendships we establish. Our lives are enriched by the members of the art organizations we join, the collectors who acquire our work, the people we stand next to in workshops, the teachers who educate us, and the individuals who manufacture and sell the products we need. Those are the folks with whom we share a joyous, satisfying, purposeful experience while creating art, and those are the people who best understand why we are excited about that experience.

Among the art-material retailers who are valued friends of thousands of artists is Joe Miller, the owner of Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff, in Boone, North Carolina. Joe will celebrate his 70th birthday on February 17, 2009, and I am one of the thousands of people who wish him well and thank him for the support he has offered so many of us.

As you probably know, Joe was a pharmacist who took an interest in watercolor painting and started selling a few art supplies in a corner of his store. Gradually that corner expanded to become an international retail, mail-order, and online business of art supplies and workshops. The one aspect of the business that never changed is the personal attention, fairness, and humor that Joe instills in every aspect of his company’s operation. His annual catalog is filled with family photographs, jokes, anecdotal remarks, and paintings, as well as helpful information about products. Joe supports dozens of juried art shows, educational programs, and conferences. His lectures to local, state, and national art groups are always informative, humorous, and inspiring.

Of course there are many other art-material retailers and manufacturers who provide valuable assistance and support to practicing artists, and I’m sure you have developed friendships with a number of those people. I’m also certain you recognize the contributions made by other friends who offer support, motivation, direction, and companionship.

I invite you to say “thank you” to the friends, such as Joe Miller, who have enriched your life and made it possible to create and display your artwork.

M. Stephen Doherty
Editor-in-Chief


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desertartist wrote
on 3 Mar 2009 8:10 PM

Years ago, when Southern California was suffering from the horrible fire storms, I received an unexpected post card from Cheap Joes Art Stuff.  The post card expressed concern about the situation in a lovely way, and then offered to replace any art products which may have been destroyed in the fires.  (Luckily, I had not suffered any damages.)  So a big thank you to Joe Miller and his gang - a very happy birthday wishes!  Melinda Greve

bridgegame wrote
on 4 Mar 2009 6:22 AM

This point06 size of type is certainly not kind to anyone over 65, M. Stephen.  I would like to read it, but it is just too much work, and then I have crossed eyes.  I bet even Joe Miller can't read his accolade.  

willwoff wrote
on 4 Mar 2009 6:24 AM

Steve, I agree. As one who has been involved in art events for over 30 yrs., the relationships we develope are important to us on many levels. Having done many outdoor festivals in Florida, (as well as group watercolor exhibits across the country) before backing off due to illness, one of the things I miss is the comraderie of my fellow competitors, some of whom have become true friends. No one understands an artist better than another artist.

on 4 Mar 2009 7:21 AM

Enjoyed reading this about Mr. Miller. I promptly ordered a catalog from his store! Willwoff: I agree wholeheartedly with you: No one understands an artist better than another artist. So true. And now that I am exploring my first love - art - I am beginning to make new friends that share my passion. Well said.

on 4 Mar 2009 10:38 AM

What a nice tribute to someone so special in our art community. Yes, I want to join in and Thank You Joe, for providing me, and other artists, for supplying us with quality supplies and art material knowledge!

johanne7 wrote
on 4 Mar 2009 2:24 PM

I certainly agree with your sentiments totally and cherish all the friends I have made in the art community.  My husband writes serious music and we have met many in the music scene that are wonderful human beings.  I am glad that most all the creative people I have been with in whatever medium  they work are giving and helpful.  Here's to all those who try to build  nurturing communities.

Laurinmc wrote
on 5 Mar 2009 10:51 AM

Steve, couldn't agree more about your comments about the value of Joe Miller to the art community.

Another that deserves mention is Sharri Schmidt in Memphis, TN. Sharri's Discount Art Supplies has for many years provided the students at Memphis State and the Mid-South art community with fine art supplies at the best price available. (If she doesn't have something you need, she says "Try Cheap Joe's")

Sharri has been known to buy the stock of a failed art store and resales it to her customers at a great discount.

Because Sharri believes in Barter, she has a great collectiuon of landscape paintings by artists that she helped out as they started their career.

It's the support of fine folks like Joe Miller and Sharri that make this jouney all the more pleasurable.

Laurin McCracken

www.lauringallery.com