Since January of this year, I have spent many moments just stopping to think about how grateful I am to be celebrating twenty-five years in business. If someone had told me all those years ago, when I was just a girl in my twenties with a dream to sell art, working out of my sister’s basement, that I would someday be sitting in a 10,000 square foot gallery overlooking my beloved city, working with some of the most talented people I have ever met, watching the careers of my favorite artists flourish and grow, getting to work with extraordinary clients, all the while watching my own family grow, I would have said, “That’s impossible.” I know, without a shadow of a doubt, there is no way I could have done the seemingly impossible without the extraordinary efforts, support, love, talents, and generosity of so many people who joined me on this remarkable journey, and I would be remiss if I didn’t name them each one. Without any one of them, there would be no ADC.
And so I want to say thank you to each from the bottom of my heart:
1. My Parents, Petros and Sophia
No words could possibly express the love and gratitude for these two people. How the stars aligned to allow me to be born to these two incredible, selfless, kind, hard-working, and loving individuals will be one of the most amazing blessings of my life. Of all the parents in the world, I had the best. They left everything behind in Greece 50 years ago, so that my sister Sylvia and I could have the very life they dreamed for us—running water, education, opportunities for prosperity—all the things they didn’t have themselves. They came to America with a few hundred dollars and a suitcase for each of us, and they have never looked back. They worked relentlessly to give Sylvia and I the best of everything. They sent us to school and to encouraged us to work hard, give back, and be kind and grateful. To this day, my father helps me at the gallery and even brings me lunch! They always take care of me, my children—all of their family. I know I wouldn’t be here today without them. Mom and Dad, I love you both.
2. My Family—Van, Sophia, Angel, and Hanna
My heart could explode with the love I have for these incredible people. Each one of my children has brought me so much joy, so much love, and so much pride. When I started this journey my daughters weren’t even born. They didn’t ask to be born to a busy mom (who had to take pumping breaks during presentations) and who has been on the go since they day they came into the world. They have been infinitely patient, infinitely kind, and infinitely supportive. So too has my husband, Van. He has been there for me in every possible way. He has supported my dreams like no one else, not just with words but with deeds. He paid the bills the first five years of ADC when we were just getting by, he helped me open the gallery in Pendleton when I first set out on my own, and he was there for me in 2008 when I decided to risk it all on the Gallery in the Sky. He has even helped me set up shows, and even bartended events for me! To say he’s been there for me would be an understatement. He has celebrated every one of my successes and have seen me at my worst and lowest points. He has always been there for me. I love you, Van. And girls, no matter what happened during the day at work, you were all waiting for me with open arms ready only for the mom to love them, and I am so incredibly grateful to be able to love you back. You all make me want to work harder, reach further, and be the best person I can be every day for them. I love you all so much.
3. My Sister, Sylvia
My first friend, my first everything: My sister. Sylvia has been my best friend, my guide, and my steadfast partner on this journey since day one of my life. There isn’t a memory or a time that Sylvia wasn’t there for me. She inspires me every day. She helped me launch ADC 25 years ago, and has been a force to be reckoned with ever since. She makes me better, strive harder, and want to be as kind, generous, and supportive as she has been to me over the years. As an owner of her own gallery, she is also a trusted colleague in the art world. I count on her wisdom, knowledge, and experience, and know there is no one better in the business than her. Sylvia, I love you. Thank you for all you do for me and all the wonderful memories you’ve given me as your sister and best friend.
4. My Team
One of my best kept “secrets” is that there is no way I do all of this alone! There is no way I could sell, market, promote, publish, consult, frame, and design, all while running a business. I need an exceptional team to do that, and boy do I have one. ADC and Blink wouldn’t be where it is today without the hard work, talent, and dedication of my stellar team here at ADC. Each one of them brings something so special and so unique, and together they make such a difference every day.
What Elizabeth "Lizzie" Davis is capable of is an astonishment. She has incredible graphic design abilities and is the reason our brands are so recognizable. She not only creates gorgeous marketing materials and makes our social media platforms stand out, she makes our gallery and shows look amazing as well. I love Lizzie’s heart and her attention to even the smallest detail. I can always count on her to notice the things that so easily could slip by.
Sandy Eichert is every Gallery Owner’s dream. She’s not just an Art Director, she’s an art enthusiast and an artist in her own right. Everything Sandy creates is beautiful. Whether she’s creating environments for artwork to be displayed in, putting an entire book like the Blink Art Resource together, creating mock-up final looks for our residential, corporate, and healthcare clients, or laying out the pages of my book Secrets of the Art World, Sandy creates something memorable and beautiful. I love her spirit, her creativity, and her gentle, kind approach to everyone she meets.
There is no one better at building artist relationships than our Development Director, Chelsea Tucker. She’s is the backbone of our Blink Art Resource, (the publication, online presence, and national shows) and what she is able to pull off each year is nothing short of amazing. She talks to artists all day and makes sure all of their needs are met. She is always pushing all of us to serve the artists better—promote them, help them, and encourage them. I just love her passion and fiery spirit. There is nothing she can’t do once she puts her mind to it.
One of the most recent additions to my team is Nicole Kroger, our Chief Curator. Nicole is not just an art enthusiast, but she is our resident art historian and critic. If it’s art, she knows all about it. Her curiosity is boundless, and her work ethic is unmatched. What she was able to achieve—creating a brand new website for us ADC/Blink, launching a new online storefront, and launching a new residential catalog in under six months—is just mind-blowing. She’s wise, capable, whip-smart, and so much fun to be around. There isn’t anything I can’t ask her to do. If she doesn’t know how, she always says, “I’ll figure it out,” and she does.
5. Our Clients
I am grateful for every single client—whether it’s an individual who walks in to have a favorite picture framed or a corporate client who needs art for their entire office space. There is no project too big or too small for us at ADC. Every single one is meaningful and every single client means the world to me. I truly wouldn’t be able to keep my doors open without you. Some of our favorite projects include: Children’s Hospital, Graydon Law, Von Lehman, Johnson Investments, GE Aviation, The Cincinnati Bengals.
6. Our Artists
Everything I do here at ADC is for the love of art—and the artists who create it. I had one vision when I set out with ADC. I wanted to make every space beautiful. I wanted people to experience the life-transforming power of art. I couldn’t do anything we do here without the artists we work with, and I want to spend the rest of my life paying it forward.
7. Our Inspirational Space
I am so grateful to be able to walk into work every day into this gorgeous space. Being able to work in our gorgeous Gallery in the Sky, filled with light, energy, wonderful people, and, of course, beautiful art, is truly the gift that keeps on giving. Take a look at our “before and after” photos…crazy, right?
8. The Charities and Non-Profits We’ve Been Able to Contribute To
Nothing makes me more proud to be the owner of ADC, than when I get to share our success and prosperity with causes and organizations that are making a real impact in the world. I am so grateful to be able to play just a small part in the ways each one of the following organizations gives back to the community. I am truly made better every day by being a part of:
9. Contributors to the Book
One of my dreams was to write a book and share all I learned over the past twenty-five years of working in the art world. That dream would have been nothing but a dream today if it hadn’t been for the contributions of so many people who came together to make this dream a reality. First I want to thank all the artists, gallery owners, and industry experts who shared all of their vast knowledge with not just me, but all the artists who will read the book and learn from them. I’d also like to thank all the endorsers, who took the time out of their busy days, to not only read Secrets of the Art World but write such glowing endorsements as well. I’d like to thank Robert Probst, the Dean of DAAP at the University of Cincinnati, who wrote the foreword. I’d like to thank Maxwell Redder for his editing skills, and Sandy for her her beautiful layout and design, as well as Kate Messer for her gorgeous photography. Finally, I’d like to thank Mary Curran Hackett, our Senior Content Strategist, who helped me pull this book together and get into the hands of readers.
10. Every Challenge
Last but not least, I am so incredibly grateful for every challenge, every bump in the road, every moment that seemed at first like a heartbreak, but was really just the beginning of new and better opportunities. I would not be who I am today without my failures, my missteps, missed opportunities, and all my struggles. Life is a journey. It’s not promised to be an easy one. Every goal worth getting takes time, takes persistence, takes courage, and takes the help and service of others. I have experienced all of that and then some and I wouldn’t change one minute of it. Because every moment led me to this moment. This celebration, for which I am incredibly grateful.
In just ten days I’ll be Celebrating 25 Years of ADC here with all of the people I love and cherish the most, and I would love for your to be there too!
Thank you, thank you, thank you.