American essayist, lecturer and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
Michele Ashe, a local artist and entrepreneur, took several career paths before finding her own. Along with her education degree, Ashe has combined her passion for art, teaching and business experience to create an art and wine business in Augusta.
“I had the ‘ah-ha’ moment when friends approached me to create paintings for their Atlanta-based art business,” she said. “At the time, I was unavailable to assist with their start-up but kept the idea in my head. I knew this concept would be the perfect fit for my business if the name was right. Before falling asleep one night, a little voice said, ‘Van Gogh and Vino’. I immediately hurried to the computer to begin researching the name and other art and wine type businesses,”
In 2010, Van Gogh and Vino, LLC was formed. Six months later, Ashe held her first painting event-a trial run among family and friends to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Everyone loved it and agreed Augustans would love painting classes and parties with adults.
In 2011, Ashe began teaching two to three classes a month. The business has steadily grown to four to five scheduled events per week.
Ashe stated: “The majority of customers are adults who are not artists. Classes and private events are taught step-by-step and all painting materials are provided. Many people haven’t had an opportunity to paint since middle school, so they’re nervous to start. This is where the Vino comes in. Painting is fun and very therapeutic. Once everyone begins, the nervousness fades and time flies because everyone is having a great time painting and celebrating with friends.”
Not only is Ashe enthusiastic about teaching and meeting new customers, she enjoys helping others and sharing her artwork with local charities.
Some of the paintings are donated to schools and support groups for auctions and door prizes. Each year Ashe teaches a class to help children create paintings for the Therapeutic Options for Children annual fundraising event and art auction. Additional classes are held to help support The Lydia Project, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the American Heart Association and a future fundraising event has been scheduled May 8 for Action Ministries.
Ashe also shared her favorite Vincent Van Gogh quote: “It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.”
Reach Ashe at (706) 284-6649 or visit her Web site, www.vanGoghandVino.com for additional information regarding classes and private events.