Calligraphy, glass etching, felting, marbling, water-coloring, painting with oil, sculpting, drawing — those are some of the ways people interested in art can express themselves and improve their skills through the efforts of Amy Linde and Rebecca Simon, the founders of Art at Home, which recruits artists to teach various disciplines.
“We try to bring art to people; that’s why it’s called Art at Home,” Linde said during a meeting with the AJT at a Chamblee tea shop. “We want to give people exposure to as many different mediums as possible. Whether it’s clay, paint, jewelry, woodworking, making soap or lotions, whatever it is. People need art in their lives in so many ways.”
The two met when their children attended a DeKalb County magnet program and often spoke of starting a business.
“We were thinking about what there was a need for,” Simon said. “Everyone has a creative side to them, and I think it’s important for people to explore that, even if they don’t think they’re very good at it. We also wanted to put artists in Atlanta to work because there’s a huge market of artists who need to fill in their time. This was an opportunity to employ them and let them teach. We try to find work for all of them.”
Simon is an artist herself and taught art at the Cliff Valley School, where she created a large mosaic that graces the lobby. She owned Simonworks, a graphic design firm in Boston, and the Divine Dish, which sold ceramic dessert ware, in Atlanta.
Linde’s background is in sales and marketing. Most recently she was involved with Keep My Planet Green, which works to offset emissions and attain carbon neutrality.
Linde and Simon’s clients include Porsche, Lululemon Athletica, Serenbe, Delta Air Lines, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, where cardiac nurses participate in team-building activities as part of an employee retention program.
“It pulls them out of their normal, stressful day. They are our most creative group because they have to think on their feet,” Linde said.
According to its founders, Art at Home also provides synagogue sisterhoods and men’s clubs, Hadassah groups, and chavurot with Judaica projects, and the company works with individual families to create unique gifts, such as spice boxes or mezuzot, that can be given to relatives and friends at simchas such as b’nai mitzvah as keepsakes.
The company has projects geared to any age group. “There are not that many businesses that appeal to almost everybody,” Simon said. “We have STEAM programs and art enrichment classes at schools. We go all the way up to those who are older and a little infirm. We have one customer who is a high-functioning autistic. He’s done watercolor lessons, woodwork, calligraphy; he loves it.”
But in schools, art is ignored to some degree, Simon said. “It kind of goes by the wayside. By the time you get to middle or high school, not as many kids get exposed to it. In middle school it becomes an elective that some kids get, but not all. You’re making a choice at that point; you are forced to.”
She said people in general need a channel for creativity. “It’s something to look forward to. It’s an outlet, so it’s really important for people to have that.”
In addition, the company is working with the Clarkston Community Center to help refugee children assimilate into American society.
“We are trying to change the world one art piece at a time,” Simon said.
“And take the starving out of starving artist,” Linde added.