I grew up thinking that art couldn’t be a career. It just wasn’t an option that anyone really considered. In my family, lawyer, doctor, teacher, or dentist seemed like good go to choices for a career. My mom could have really used a dentist in the family, she said. So, I went to school, trying to figure out what I liked and I just couldn’t put my finger on it. I became a Language Arts teacher for an inner city school in Allentown, PA. While I loved teaching middle school Language Arts, I loved art even more. This school did not have an art teacher for its middle schoolers so I was able to teach Language Arts and Art to the children. It was a wonderful experience for me. I was able to combine teaching and art.
After I had my first child, I decided to leave teaching and concentrate on just art. Something about having a child makes you a bit more sure of yourself and I was sure the art world was where I belonged. I painted murals for a living. My son’s wall was first….a jungle…and then from that, my business grew. It was word of mouth and it was a fulfilling experience…meeting people and seeing the joy that art brought them.
I continued murals for 15 years. I had 6 kids during that time and life got a bit hectic but always fun. I loved being around people and enjoy each moment spent in our chaotic farmhouse in Pennsylvania. But, yet, I wanted to do more. I knew there were a lot of people out there who would love to try painting if they just had the tools. So, I decided to make the painting experience as fun as I could make it….like my home. Full of people and a lots of love. So, I rented my church basement and held my first paint party. 40 people came the first night. Each month the parties grew and grew and I knew I was onto something.
I decided to open a storefront. It was a fabulous experience… on Main Street in Bethlehem. I felt like it was just perfect. But, the location was not meant to be… it was to be turned into a restaurant. I did try another storefront after that but it never had the charm of my first one. So, I switched gears a bit.
I decided I didn’t need a store… it was the people that made the experience fun so I took my store on the road. My painting business now travels to businesses and schools and senior centers and brings everything to them for a grand time. I even created a “Roey’s Paintbox” that can hold everything you need for a party in one box. I realized I needed to keep painting easily accessible to everyone at any age.
I also wanted to reach more children and families through art so I decided to write a children’s educational art series. My series “Roey’s Paintbox - Art is for Everyone” airs on PBS and has won national acclaim. It is a great feeling to know that a show you wrote locally is reaching children all around the country. I was blessed to have the opportunity to volunteer monthly in my local children’s hospital, The Children’s Hospital at Lehigh Valley. I realized I needed to get art programming to the families and patients there. So, in 2015, I created “The World of Roey’s Paintbox”, an educational art and wellness series that brings art, science, nutrition, movement and music to the patients’ rooms through their YouTube channel. It is an imaginative and creative art series that I am so very proud of because of the children who inspired it.
I love what I do and have been able to meet so many wonderful people. I want to keep doing what I do but delve deeper into what makes me really love art. Creating paintings. Because now, I realize, art is one of the most wonderful careers there is and I don’t want to waste another second getting to it!