Pocono Princess: “Looking to Spread a Little Happiness”

In 2015, Toris-Silva found princess companies in New Jersey and developed a plan to introduce the princesses on the train. “I didn’t know what to do, so I saw there were companies in New Jersey that did this and reached out to them,” shared Toris-Silva, who was able to offer the companies a mixture of financial payment and marketing through the museum and the events they attended. “It worked out well for them. They agreed to that and were able to secure events from that. Due to the popularity, we decided to try a non-moving event at the museum, which was a tea party that takes place in an antique train car. It sold out in nine hours. We added a second weekend just for the demand.”

Danny Allain: “I’m not the next big guy or anything. It’s just me. I make stuff.”

Three years later, Allain is still painting murals, taking commissions, writing and drawing his own comics, making fences with his father and building houses with his brother. “Pretty much whatever I can do, to sustain art, is what I do,” Allain said. “Luckily, I married Morgan, who feels the exact way that I do. We’re hustling to do what we can to do this. I’m not saying I’m making baller money, but I’m making more now than when I was teaching. Teachers don’t make anything. It’s sad. You’ve got to sustain yourself.”

Jenna Rayesky Floral Studio: “It is possible.”

Rayesky realized that when a talent comes naturally, whether floral design, photography or another creative field, there is an intimidation when it comes to setting prices. “I had to overcome that hurdle,” Rayesky explained. “There was a wedding we did two years ago. When all was said and done, we made $3 an hour while working 80 hours. It’s insanity–working on four hours of sleep.”

Elizabeth Kinahan Paintings: “A Way We Can Share an Experience”

“My responsibility as an artist is to think as creatively and outside the box as possible,” Elizabeth Kinahan shared. “That skill of visual art is valuable to other people. That is where I struggled the longest–in seeing there is value in painting pictures. He was powerful in teaching me a lot about that. He would say, ‘Let’s walk around town and go into the shops and see what art they have up. If they don’t have art up, we can say, wouldn’t it be nice if you had art on your walls? We’re artists. We can put some art up. And if it sells, we can give you 10-15% of that piece.’ I said, ‘That’s crazy. We can’t do it.’ He said, ‘Nope, let’s go.’ We got our art up all over the place.”

Quiet Bear Art: “Trading an Object that Means Joy”

After ten years, Ken Webb began to realize he couldn’t stay at his job for another 35 years. “It was a decent job, but wasn’t too fulfilling,” he admitted. “It all came together at some point over the period of a few years that I wasn’t content and happy doing the daily grind that I saw people doing of getting up and punching the clock. … I was slowly doing more art as a side hobby and that was the direction I wanted to go. It was pretty difficult leaving a pretty secure job for something I didn’t know how to make a living at.”

Kelly Miranda Photography: “There’s Enough Room for Everybody”

Kelly MacNiven also found support in the small business community in Durango. She attends the local Chamber events for networking opportunities, and has developed a good rapport with other local photographers. “We can all help each other out and there’s enough room for everybody,” said MacNiven. “There’s enough business to go around. We don’t need to be competitive. It works and we all help each other out and it’s a great community of artists and business owners making sure there’s enough room for all of us, doing what we love to do.”