USArtQuest, the independently owned art paper distribution, wholesale and retail store located on Old US-12 in Sylvan Township, will soon be closing.
Owner Susan Pickering Rothamel, who has built a career as a mixed-media collage artist, has decided to retire after 30 years and plans to do more writing, more traveling, and to create more artwork.
She also plans to continue promoting art and craft products made by the special needs community through her family 501c3 called Alternative Art and Business Learning Environment (AABLE).
“For the last six years, many of the USArtQuest products have been made by the assistance of young people of Independence Hall (at Chelsea High School), who learn a myriad of production, assembly, and business processes,” said Pickering Rothamel. “AABLE will assure this can continue for years to come.”
Pickering Rothamel gifted AABLE nearly 1/3 of the company, which will be moved to the old Chelsea High School. Her daughter, Cristina Loomis, will continue to coordinate the program along with school personnel and will continue sales to provide legacy learning for the program.
Pickering Rothamel has also gifted a large portion of her massive paper inventory to 22 different K-12 schools and districts including Chelsea, as well as to nine nursing homes and three universities. Chelsea High School as well as several other schools in the district received either boxes or pallets of full sheet art paper valued at close to $20,000.
“We are just tickled to death that we were able to support these organizations and further education for other people being creative,” she said. “I am a firm believer that art and creativity promote invention, and invention, in turn, promotes engineering and science and all the other disciplines. I really see this as something that’s missing among our young children today. That’s my ultimate goal: to really push that creativity.”
Pickering Rothamel estimates that before donating and selling any of her inventory, her shop and warehouse contained half a million sheets of art paper from 26 countries.
She is the inventor and product developer of several art materials including Perfect Paper Adhesive, Prills, and Mica Tiles, and is the author of three books, “The Art of Paper Collage,” “The Encyclopedia of Greeting Card Tools & Techniques,” and “The Encyclopedia of Scrapbooking Tools & Techniques.”
“I consider it a true blessing to have been able to make a living in the arts and to share the gift of creativity with others,” she said.