We take great pride in providing an exceptional experience for teachers, students and families.
Enjoy these employee spotlights and learn more about the team that makes the magic happen.
I am responsible for not messing up Artsonia and instead hopefully growing the company.
With ~20 employees, I do a little bit of everything, from setting company strategies to human resources, accounting, finance, IT management
and even help fix some industrial equipment in our manufacturing area. I also work alongside Eric for web / app development
and marketing and sales. My hobbies include golf, basketball, skiing and most anything that includes a stick and a ball, reading detective
novels on airplanes and eating. My kids have recently asked me if there is any food I don't like, and I really can't think of anything.
It's actually kind of abnormal, now that I think about it. One last thing, I also grew up in Indiana five miles outside a town of
one thousand people. So yeah, stop lights, cable TV and dedicated phone lines are cool.
P.S. I also went to the University of Notre Dame as an electrical engineer. Hence, the leprechaun in my photo (I am the one on the right).
I am responsible for multiple aspects of Artsonia, including general business strategy, marketing and sales, and core technology such as
the development and maintenance of the website. I earned my master's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois in 1997,
although life took me in a much different direction than engineering (but thanks mom and dad for helping with school anyway!).
I enjoy sports (primarily basketball), home improvement projects, coffee, science fiction and superheroes, and hanging out with my wife and daughter.
Thankfully they enjoy nearly all the same things I do!
I am very proud to have developed Artsonia from its infancy to where it is today, and am looking forward to the bright future ahead of us.
Perhaps my inspiration for Artsonia came from the fact that I was the last child in a family of ten and felt kids need a lot of positive attention to develop self-esteem and pride in their work. Anyways, after Artsonia, I moved on to pursue a career as a technology geek, rejoined Accenture, became its Chief Scientist, went and lived in Beijing for a while and I am now an entrepreneur based in Chicago. My latest venture, Mishkalo
, is a wedding registry for art. I hope it expands the market for young artists (perhaps some of Artsonia kids) among younger buyers - perhaps Artsonia kids when they grow up and get married!
Director of Operations
Number four through the door. I have been with Artsonia since the Christmas Season of 2005. I feel like I was hired right off of the stage at Second City (Donny's Skybox) as I was writing, producing, directing, and performing sketch comedy by night. I made “a living” teaching kid's golf during the day.
As an actor, I appeared in over 20 films, all of which you have never seen nor heard of. As a commercial artist, my career spanned 20 years in casting and acting as I represented clients such as Toyota, Frosted Mini Wheats and the Chicago Cubs. The latter two gave me my “claim to fame” when I became the first person in history to place cleat marks into the “new Comiskey Park” (now Guaranteed Rate Field) dugouts. I was also fortunate enough to work for my two childhood heroes – Joe Montana and Walter Payton.
Since the day I arrived to Artsonia, I have been producing, building, organizing and preparing Artsonia's Gift Shop manufacturing for the amazing and unpredictable growth we see year after year. I am proud to say, we have doubled our size three times since I arrived in 2005, and I see no reason it will not continue.
Way back in 2004, I was given the honor of becoming Artsonia's first employee. The early Artsonia days were very different – sitting at a small desk, bumping elbows with Jim (one of our co-founders) who was making products while I answered phones and tried to come up with creative ways to spread the word about Artsonia. Today, I'm glad that I don't have to sit next to Jim all day (am sure that feeling is mutual) and am humbled at what Artsonia has become thanks to so many amazing teachers and families embracing the idea. Having done a little of everything over the years, most of my time is now dedicated to connecting with art educators via conferences, webinars and the ever-changing world of social media platforms.
While it's hard to remember my life before Artsonia, I've got pictures to prove that I worked in the travel industry and have set foot in 28 countries around the globe. To this day, I love nothing more than to experience first-hand culture shock and always prefer the road less traveled. My husband's a nice guy, our two kiddos are basically mini-versions of us and our two dogs are cute. We love sports and family adventures. This fall, I'm taking on a part-time art-teaching role at my kids' school and am excited to officially be “in the trenches” with so many of the inspiring, creative teachers I've met through Artsonia!
Help Team Manager
I am a native Northern Californian (I'm talking redwood trees and fresh air). I made my way to Illinois by way of a few years layover in Los Angeles. Boy, what a temperature difference in January! 84 to -19 degrees. What was I thinking!
I've been a part of the awesome Help Team at Artsonia for 10 years, assisting our awesome teachers and awesome student's family members. I'm also responsible for watering the office plants.
Besides baking chocolate chip cookies weekly for anyone who will eat them, I enjoy the outdoors… hiking, biking, and hope to someday walk the Camino de Santiago.
After being in the hospitality business for many years, I landed at Artsonia in October 2007. I learned just about every task possible there is to know. I moved into the Production Manager position: planning and coordinating the manufacturing processes. During the busy season, I stay up all hours of the night fixing up artwork prior to being printed on keepsakes. Sometimes 3000 images a night. I enjoy drawing cute characters on every white board in the office.
Outside of Artsonia, I enjoy art, drawing, graphic design, boating, golfing, traveling to the Philippines with my wife and two boys, playing the kazoo, and collecting shoes. No one can have enough shoes!
As like other Artsonia Team Members, I know the ins and outs of all areas of production. But mainly, I oversee mug production and I make mugs. LOTS OF MUGS! Having to guess, I've handmade 350,000 mugs in the 8 years I've been at Artsonia.
Born in Honduras, I came to the states when I was 14 years old. I often travel back to Honduras for vacation with my 3 daughters. I play soccer, basketball, volleyball, and wrestle. I like to keep active and want to be a famous athlete in my next life. My ultimate dream is to own a large farm and have 1000 cows. Even though I know nothing about golf, I seem to win all the golf betting pools here at Artsonia. Beginners luck I guess (or just good at google-ing).
I've been at Artsonia for seven years. During that time, I've done just about everything there is to do.
Currently, I manage the print room, and fill in where ever I am needed in production/shipping.
My Hobbies include administrating Gensport Illinois, a large car club for Genesis coupes, binge watching Netflix, playing pool and softball,
eating sushi, and hanging out with my two dogs (Nooma and Bella) and great friends. I am also currently building my 2014 Genesis coupe,
and I do not like cake, cookies, or hamburgers, but can put down a 3 pound burrito in five minutes!
Being the shipping supervisor, I coordinate the order picking, packing, and quality control team members in the shipping department. It amazes me how many packages we ship out during our busy holiday season. Fast forward our GoPro video of the shipping department, we look like a bunch of busy ants running around.
In case you are wondering, my favorite movie is The Big Lebowski, my favorite food is Spaghetti, my favorite vacation spot is Denver, Colorado, and my weekly prepped meals are second to none in the office.
I am a Shipping Supervisor at Artsonia. I oversee all aspects of the shipping department and help coordinate the temporary influx of Artsonia
employees (sometimes 80+) during our peak season. I am highly motivated to get others highly motivated. They call me Sarge and
say my laugh is infectious, loudly infectious. Like Quint from Jaws!
I have 6 kids, I coach kids basketball,
play a kazoo (just like Shannon), and I LOVE steak! My biggest dream is to see all six of my kids graduate college.
Chris was born and raised in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, loving the outdoors and the friendly Midwesterners. She headed to the Chicagoland area after graduating from Northern Michigan University. She met and married a fellow Yooper and they raised two amazing adults.
Chris joined Artsonia in 2016 as a Help Team Member. Outside the office, Chris enjoys travelling, kayaking, hiking, boating, bonfires and eating salty snacks.
Social Media / Help Team
I am the social media specialist and a Help Team member at Artsonia. I received my bachelor's degree from DePaul University in Chicago, IL where I studied History of Art and Architecture and History.
I am a huge art nerd. My apartment walls are filled with works primarily from the High Northern Renaissance, which is always an interesting conversation starter. I love walking around museums any chance I get, big and small. In my free time, I also enjoy watching Walking Dead with my cats, Daryl and Carol.
See me Tweet about art: @Artsonia
Get a glimpse at Artsonia behind the scenes on Instagram: @Artsonia
Become more rooted in the Artsonia Community and Follow us on Facebook: @Artsonia
I am the newest full-time production member. Last year, I supervised the shipping area of our manufacturing. This year, I moved into one of the busiest areas of the shop – ornaments – where I supervised the manufacturing of over 70,000 ornaments this year.
When I am not at work, you can find me helping others through my church. If I'm not doing that, I'm sitting on the couch watching basketball and eating steak fajitas.
My mission in life is to help others and I hope to be helping kids through art and Artsonia.
Although I am fairly new art Artsonia, I moved into managing the jewelry section of Artsonia production. When I am not making or overseeing the making of thousands of art snaps, I join the rest of the Artsonia Team in production.
When I am not at Artsonia, I LOVE to sleep (when I get the chance), binge watch Netflix, and sing in the shower. I am a mom to a wonderful boy and have a dog named Coco. I play soccer, and eat lots of pizza and enjoy Mexican music. I am originally from Los Angeles and I hope to someday become a nurse and move back to a warm state (winter lasts too long in Illinois).
I am one of the newest members of the Artsonia Help Team! I'm very excited to learn all of the ins and outs of Artsonia, and moreso, see all of the wonderful artwork that is uploaded by students across the globe.
I am a mother to an 8 year old fireball, he keeps me on my toes at all times! When I'm not at Artsonia, we love camping, exploring new places and taking our dog to swim at the beach near our house. When it's cold and snowy, we can be found in our expertly made blanket fort watching Harry Potter for the billionth time!
I am a new member of the Help Team here at Artsonia! I live in Kenosha, Wisconsin (Go Pack Go!) and graduated from UW-Parkside. I have 2 rescue cats and 2 horses.
One of the many things I love about working at Artsonia is seeing all the student’s art! I’ve worked with children in the past and love seeing their art and the evolution of their artistic abilities.
In my free time I enjoy playing volleyball, fishing, kayaking, and going to concerts. I also like to travel and my favorite place to visit is my family’s cabin in Northern Wisconsin.
Many years ago in the year 2000, co-founders Jim Meyers, Eric Meidel and Kishore Swaminathan were colleagues at Accenture (called Andersen Consulting then). One day, while chatting with a colleague in his cubicle, Kishore noticed a cheerful rainbow in watercolor a masterpiece by the coworker's 8-year old attached to the wall of the cubicle with a thumbtack.
Why can't this art be on a website so everyone can see and enjoy it?
With that simple question, the concept of Artsonia was born.
The enthusiasm and support from art teachers was overwhelming. Within 12 months, Artsonia had over 25,000 pieces of artwork from schools, even though teachers had to use old-fashioned digital cameras and scanners (this was before the age of smart phones and iPads)! Encouraged by the response, Artsonia set its sights to become the world's largest collection of kids' art anywhere!
There was a small detail to be worked out. How do we fund the company and feed ourselves?
In 2001, we purchased a heat press, learned how to make custom merchandise with kids' artwork and began selling them to parents, donating a portion of the sales back to the school's art program.
In 2006, we were overjoyed to reach two important milestones. We reached one million pieces of artwork published on our website. More importantly, we were recognized by the National Arts Education Association with an award for outstanding service to art education, validating that we were indeed doing something important within the arts education community.
Today, we are very proud of what Artsonia has become: a place where teachers and students publish over 8 MILLION pieces of artwork EACH YEAR;
a place where parents and family leave comments encouraging the kids;
an educational resource for art teachers with thousands of lesson plans;
a showcase for over 50 million pieces of art with a permanent digital portfolio for students;
a company that raises over a million dollars for school's art programs each year.
We are humbled by the incredible dedication and support from art teachers, school administrators and parents, not to mention the millions of young people (many of them are not kids anymore) who grace the pages of Artsonia with their artistic talent. And the dedication of our workforce of 20 full-time employees.
Scroll down memory lane with us as we celebrate a few milestones during Artsonia's 19 year history.