By HOWARD BALABAN email@example.com
Medina Journal-Register — Today marks the official start of the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce Palettes of Orleans program.
The program features 73 artists’ palettes, painted voluntarily by numerous local talents. The palettes are displayed at a number of businesses all over the county.
Almost all of the participating businesses commissioned local artists. However, two Medina business owners painted their own palettes.
“Years ago my grandmother used to paint, and I thought it’d be a good idea to carry on that tradition,” said Jaye Blissett of Blissetts.
“Doing this incorporate the business and something she taught me,” she said. Blissett’s palette features a variety of different colored sunflowers.
“I like sunflowers,” Blissett said. “They make people happy and have nice colors.”
Many businesses feature palettes that have a scene related to their shop in some way. For Blissett, the connection was more personal.
“My grandmother and I also gardened,” Blissett said, explaining the flowery picture. As for painting, Blissett said she made her palette over the course of two nights and about eight hours.
“It was my way of relaxing and destressing,” she said.
Down the street at Creekside Florist, owner Mary Lewis said she decided to paint her shop’s palette after finding out a lot of artists were busy. Her college education included a variety of art, including drawing, painting, and graphic design, so she decided, “Why not?”
Lewis said her palette features flowers by design.
“The more I thought about it, the more I thought I should do it,” she said. “I worked with heavy body acrylic because I wanted to see how it worked, and it gave the palette a 3-D effect.”
Lewis, like Blissett, had to work on her palette at night, after business hours.
“I waited until my kids went to bed because I didn’t want paint everywhere,” she joked.
Both Blissett and Lewis agreed the program can only benefit the county’s businesses, and they said they looked forward to seeing the others spread throughout the area.
Lewis added, “I’m amazed at how many there are…and I think a lot of newer businesses are participating too which is good (for their exposure).”
Some other palettes were created by relatives of owners. At C & H PC, Kari Hewitt, the owners’ niece, made two palettes (one for the computer business and one for the neighboring Park Grille), and at Karen’s Kollectables, Sarah Lawton, granddaughter of the owners, put her skills to use.
Each participating business has a poster in its window to indicate a palette on display. There are also brochures listing the location of each palette and its artist, a sheet of tickets to vote for a favorite palette, and a bid sheet on which shoppers may bid to buy the palette.
Shoppers are limited to 25 tickets, and the artist with the winning palette will receive a gift certificate from the Chamber. The goal of the program is to encourage shoppers to visit all 70 participating locations. If their brochure is initialed by all the businesses their name is entered in a drawing to win a giant basket of merchandise and gift certificates from Chamber members.
The program runs through October 6 and on October 13 the Chamber will host a reception at Hickory Ridge for the public to meet the palette artists and to make final bids on their favorite palette.
Kathy Blackburn, Chamber Director, said the program is a way to draw people into Orleans County.
“We invite residents from all over the area to come and see all that Orleans County has to offer,” Blackburn said. “It is exciting to see the variety of artwork and the creativity displayed in designing these palettes, and even more exciting to be able to show them off to our residents and visitors.”
The Chamber has expressed optimism that the Palettes of Orleans will become an annual event, and any businesses who wish to participate next year should call the Chamber at 589-7727. Local artists who wish to participate are also encouraged to call.