In 2017, K Art and Design had the opportunity to rebrand Culpeper County Public Schools. It was an interesting challenge. The previous logo (left) had not aged well, and with the focus on books, it seemed to represent a library more than a public school system.
We learned at the beginning that the first applications of the new logo would be a job fair display and recruitment materials for new teachers. The logo needed to be modern and distinctive and also give the viewer an idea of Culpeper ‘s location at a quick glance.
Retaining a link to the original book concept was explored, but ultimately, the selected design focused on the idea of a pathway to success with a C for Culpeper encircling the starred location on the map. The color scheme was chosen to distinguish Culpeper from other school districts that often use primary colors.
Since the launch of the new design, we’ve enjoyed seeing the many ways it has been used. Our favorite is the activity school bus!
It’s hard to believe that it’s August. This year is a blur of pivoting and adapting to try to do what’s best for our family, business, customers, and community. It’s especially hard when “what’s best” isn’t really clear.
Tony and I continue to work primarily from home, being fortunate to have high speed internet at both locations. Our office phone has been forwarded so our contact information remains the same. Masks are required at our office building.
We have been busy working with Culpeper Tourism & Economic Development to support small business relief programs like Culpeper Cares and Culpeper Recovers. These programs are designed to get funds in the hands of local small businesses that have been so profoundly impacted by the pandemic. We also created materials to support the new parklet program that is currently adding outdoor seating along East Davis Street in our historic downtown. Creating presentations, forms, and fillable pdfs on tight deadlines might just be the most important work we’ve ever done. It’s been gratifying to be able to contribute to these efforts.
Our fall Art Jam classes will be held virtually on Zoom, a platform with which we are all now familiar. I’m nervous about how to engage students and the advanced planning that virtual teaching will require, but we’re going to do our best to keep offering classes that share art education in a fun way! We are preparing project kits with supplies to make it easier for families to participate.
We are continuing to celebrate 15 years of K Art and Design being in Culpeper, and this month I’d like to spotlight our work with Culpeper County Public Schools. They have been facing the “what’s best” question in perhaps the most difficult of situations. I think we can agree that teachers, staff, and students need our support more than ever. They are facing an enormous challenge and everyone is feeling that stress before the school year has even begun. The only thing we can control is how we choose to respond to this situation, and while kindness won’t solve everything, it’s a great starting point.
This school year, Joy is a freshman at Culpeper County High School, and Cole is a junior splitting time at CCHS and Mountain Vista Governors School. We’ve selected the remote learning option, and we’re looking forward to getting the kids’ schedules and figuring out what they will need as far as time, supplies, and workspace.
We sincerely hope you and those dear to you are well. These are incredibly challenging times, and if there’s anything we can do to make some part of your day easier, please let us know. Keep us posted on your schedules and plans for the fall!
The mission of the Culpeper Wellness Foundation is to improve health and promote wellness in Culpeper, Madison, and Orange counties. In addition to operating the Free Clinic of Culpeper, Powell Wellness Center, and Culpeper Sport & Fitness, the Foundation also provides mission-related community grants.
The Healthy Living Grants have supported organizations like fire & rescue companies, dental clinics, libraries, and shelters. The ninja warrior course at Rockwater Park is a result of a Wellness Foundation grant, and they also contributed funding for the Bright Spot inclusive playground at the Culpeper Sports Complex.
While we did not design the Foundation’s logo, we did work with them to use it as a starting point for a cohesive and flexible branding system that has been able to grow with its programs. In 2017, we began a redesign of the Foundation’s website as well as those for the Free Clinic of Culpeper, Powell Wellness Center, and Culpeper Sport & Fitness. It was a large undertaking because it required an audit of all of the content on the sites and a reorganization to make information easier to find. The separate websites needed to visually coordinate while still reflecting the unique character of each group. It was helpful that Kelly’s side hustle has been teaching fitness at Powell Wellness Center, and Tony has been a member at Culpeper Sport & Fitness since before it joined the Foundation family and it was the Culpeper Racquet Club.
We’re proud to continue to be a part of the Culpeper Wellness Foundation’s story. They are a force of good in our community, and even with the current challenges, they continue to do this important work. For free online fitness classes, click here.
My plans for this month were to wrap up our Art Jam 3D Academy classes with an art show and to highlight our work with the Culpeper Wellness Foundation as we continue to celebrate our 15th year in Culpeper. But as we all know, not much has gone as planned during the past few weeks.
We canceled our last two weeks of art classes, and while initially I thought I would be able to just reschedule those a little later, I’m now packing up projects to mail to students and their families. Most of our second quarter classes have been canceled or are in jeopardy at this point, including Kaleidoscope art camp which I coordinate for the county each year.
We have been busy helping our customers, especially the local ones, make adjustments as the situation changes. We are 100% working from home at this point, but Tony and I do stop in the office to pick up mail and check messages. Email is the quickest way to reach us, and we are working mostly normal business hours. Our kids are accustomed to us working from home, but we do try to get outside during the day when the weather’s nice. Which reminds me, for those of you who are relatively new to teleworking with kids, keep an eye on our Facebook page for tips. We’ve been juggling both since 2003!
Our friends at KASH Imprints have begun a fundraiser for local businesses and nonprofits that’s called #HereForGoodCPEP. Tony designed the “Here for Good” graphic that’s available on t-shirts and stickers, and we have an Art Jam shirt too. For every Art Jam shirt sold, we’ll receive $10 which we will put towards restarting our art classes once we’re able. Click here to purchase.
We sincerely hope you and those dear to you are well. These are incredibly challenging times, and if there’s anything we can do to make some part of your day easier, please let us know.
Our first project for the Culpeper Tourism Office & Visitor Center was the creation of the Official Visitors Guide in 2008. It was a massive 80-page brochure that was distributed through visitor centers throughout the state and beyond. The guide included our rich local history, an event calendar, and profiles of shops, restaurants, recreation venues, entertainment, and lodging options. At the time it was a huge undertaking to collect all of that information in one place and to get the blessing of local experts on the historical content. Since that initial design, we’ve worked on many revisions and reprints. Now that this information is available on tourism’s website, we’ve also designed a much more concise version that’s simpler to keep up to date and cheaper to print!
In 2019, the Virginia Tourism Corporation celebrated 50 years of the iconic “Virginia is for Lovers” slogan, and the Culpeper Tourism Office invited the business community to participate in 50 Years of Love, a statewide program. K Art and Design partnered with Tourism to develop co-branded items and specials, including a Liquid Love trolley tour of wineries, breweries, and distilleries.
Tony also designed a limited edition t-shirt based on a local landmark, the LOVE sculpture designed by Roque Castro. The shirts were available for sale at Green Roost in our historic downtown. It was a LOVE-ly project.
Did you make a resolution to make more time for art or creative projects this year? I haven’t figured out how to “make more time,” but I have discovered some techniques that have helped me make more art. I’ll be sharing them in my watercolor workshop coming up on February 15.
Last summer I started having some health problems that caused me to have to slow down for several months. I thought a bright side of this might be more time to paint, but I was disappointed to realize that I didn’t have the energy or even the mental focus to work on my acrylic paintings. Those painting usually take a few hours standing at an easel which was more than I could handle.
I had the desire to paint and even the time, but the problem was sustaining the energy. The solution came in a small box of tiny watercolor pads I had purchased at Hyatt’s Art Supply in Buffalo, NY while visiting college friends. Using reference photos that I’ve taken of flower arrangements that I want to paint, I could pull up a photo on my phone, draw it with a Micron 01 pen, and take a break. Later in the day, I’d take out my watercolor travel kit and a water brush and add the color to my drawing. Sometimes after the paint was dry, I would go back in with a white gel pen to add highlights.
Working at this small scale and breaking it down into steps that work with my available time and energy has kept me painting. I’ve made more than 2 dozen of these watercolors and sold about half of them by posting photos on Instagram and Facebook. Sometimes I start the drawing in the car while the kids are at sports practices, and then paint in the evening before I go to bed. I’ve set up a mini clothesline to hang them and they really brighten up that corner of the house. Some of these arrangements might eventually become acrylic paintings too!
The Culpeper Chamber of Commerce was our introduction to the business community here, and they were also one of our first local clients. Our first project was a trifold brochure to promote a Work Where You Live initiative which definitely struck a chord since Tony was still commuting at the time.
We’ve continued to be active members of the Chamber. Kelly was on the marketing committee for a few years and served a term on the board of directors. We work with the Chamber on website projects, event marketing, and even a total rebranding effort. In 2014, Tony designed a new logo, and we developed a color palette and style guide. The brand has remained flexible enough to evolve with this dynamic organization, and Tony has really enjoyed building the system of logos.
Here are few examples of how the logo has been adapted for programs and events.
Today K Art and Design celebrates 18 years in business. Like many small businesses, we had humble beginnings. My first office was the basement of a rented townhouse in Centreville, Virginia with myself as the owner and only employee. Less than a year later, I gained a window when we moved to an apartment, and a co-worker of sorts when Cole was born in the fall of 2003. In 2005, my office returned to the basement, but in our new home in Culpeper. Then after a year of commuting to Arlington, Tony changed jobs to work with me full-time just before our daughter Joy was born. We shared the basement office until 2009 when we moved into the Medical Arts Building downtown.
Fifteen years of living and working in Culpeper has been a truly wonderful experience that I never could’ve planned, and I really love to plan. We had decided to move to Culpeper because we fell in the love with the charm of the preserved historic downtown while Cole enjoyed the grilled cheese at Frost Café and the playground at Yowell Meadow Park. Plus I was assured by the homebuilder that there was high speed internet access in our neighborhood!
Once we closed on the house, I joined the Culpeper Chamber of Commerce and started to attend mixers and networking groups. All of our work at this time was for customers in Northern VA, Maryland, and DC. I was hoping we might be able to do some local projects so we could feel like a part of the community, and maybe even design one of the decorative signs that we had admired hanging on the buildings on Davis Street.
Since 2005, we’ve certainly done more than a few local jobs, and it is so gratifying to see our work in use. When family and friends visit from out of state, they laugh as we take them around and point out our projects. Over the next 12 months, we’d like to share some of them with you and spotlight what 15 years in Culpeper has meant to us. We are so proud to be part of Culpeper as a business and as a family.
I am profoundly grateful to ALL of customers, near and far, for keeping us busy for 18 years.