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Staying fiercely local and independent in Salem

Staying fiercely local and independent in Salem

It’s an Honor

I never thought that I could ever own an art supply store. But looking back on my life, I also can’t think of anything more fitting. 

I grew up in rural Maine and in the early 80’s, art supply stores were not a norm. I remember walking into my first art and hobby store when I was in grade school thinking that I had discovered the most magical place. There I ran my fingers over rainbows of paint colors and dreamed up possibilities for future creations. It was thrilling and dizzying see so many options and products, and it provided me a glimpse of what could be created. 

I’ve always been a maker. From early on I’ve enjoyed imaginative, artful, play and I’ve never really stopped. I was an art nerd at Hillsboro High and found refuge in the art room with other misfits. At the Unversity of Oregon, I studied art and worked in student leadership roles. And then as an adult, I worked as a graphic designer, marketing coordinator, and program manager were I implemented art and education for social and environmental change. 

I’ve loved the art community Salem has, and I’ve worked hard to bring people together through various projects. Some projects include: founding the Salem Etsy Team, the Salem Puppet Parade, creating an Arts & Culture CSA, Free Art Friday Salem, Trashion Shows, Salem Sketchers, Repair Fair & Share, Art Supply Swaps, and working as an executive director for a creative reuse center. 

When Katy Vigeland first asked me if I was interested in continuing the legacy of Art Department, I was honored but very tentative. I am not financially wealthy nor do I come from a family that is. So I was doubtful that I could make it work. But the more I thought about it, the more I fell in love with the idea. My family and I started coming up with a plan. And the Vigelands and their broker did the same.

Jim and Katy have spent their career curating the most wonderful art supply store. Just like that first store I stepped into as a young girl, the shop is filled with possibilities and inspiration. Jim and Katy have worked closely with local artists and staff to create an extraordinary haven for artists to learn and connect. Their fun and creative personalities shine through with whimsical products while still offering the very serious and studious high-end art products that artists need. What an honor it will be to continue the service the Vigelands have provided. 

Jim, Katy, Makayla, and Sarah make running the shop look easy, and I know that I still have a lot to learn. Thankfully Makayla and Sarah will continue to work at Art Department and my daughter Bella will be joining the team as well. The staff and I are committed to a smooth transition. And I will be forever grateful to the Vigelands for this amazing opportunity. 

So in October I humbly embark on a new journey as the owner of Art Department with the support of my amazing family. I’m thrilled to open the doors and welcome you into an art home that supports artists from inspiration to celebration. Come in and share your ideas and projects that you are working on, and we will cheerlead and support you along your journey.

Thanks for your continued support,

-Jessica Ramey

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