Kate Donovan Studio making small, creative leaps

Published 10:10 am Saturday, May 20, 2023

‘It’s about stepping out of time, away from phones and day-to-day stress’

Kate Donovan traded in the city life of New York City for the small town arts scene in Water Valley a year and a half ago. She is one of the 2023 community-supported artists (CSA) whose small business, Kate Donovan Studio, unites art and nature in a variety of media.

“I want to help people experience nature and art in different ways. It’s something I’m passionate about,” Donovan said.

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The Yoknapatawpha Arts Council (YAC) designed the CSA program to assist artists like Donovan as they establish sustainable small businesses. CSA artists select one or two small business goals to achieve over a six-month period and they develop a thank you gift for community members who pre-invest in their small business.

Donovan offers three options for her thank you gift: hand-painted plates from her vintage terra cotta collection inspired by Delft, Portuguese and Italian tiles.

Her second share is a shadow box, in which the participant can choose between several types of one-of-a-kind shadow boxes inspired by nature. Materials inside include sculpted metal, linen, clay and tiny paintings. They can choose the shadow box, where one can choose what’s in it based on her designs, or a picnic box.

Donovan’s third share: The picnic box includes one of her hand-painted plates, classic vanilla bean cookies topped with edible flowers, a set of handmade napkins and a small arrangement of flowers and herbs from Donovan’s garden. Also included in the box is a small illustrated booklet with recipes and ideas for seasonal summer entertaining.

“It’s about stepping out of time for a moment, away from their phones and their day-to-day stress and responsibilities. I want to invite people to slow down and be present, to take in nature, and to be inspired,” Donovan said.

In addition to sharing her art with the wider world, Donovan is working on building her website and recognition of her business brand.

“I’m just getting back to my business and am excited for the support [from the CSA program] in getting it going and actually running a business,” Donovan said.

CSA artists receive a stipend and professional development resources through the Big Bad Business series workshops, one-on-one mentorship and connection to resources in the community. “The CSA not only showcases talented artists and small businesses like Kate Donovan Studio, but also the amazing resources, many of which are free, here in north Mississippi. We have fabulous resources – Transactional Law Clinic, the University’s Small Business Development Center and a bevy of experts willing to work and encourage local entrepreneurs,” said Meghan Gallagher, YAC’s coordinator of the Big Bad Business series program.

“My partner and I made the leap to move to the small, creative town of Water Valley about a year ago, driven by a desire to have more time and space for art and community… Finally having a studio of my own has allowed me to open up and experiment with new mediums, and I’m so excited to be part of this program to grow my art and business,” said Donovan of her journey.

“There’s an openness and welcomeness to being here. We love Oxford. It’s a very special town.”

For more information on Kate Donovan Studio or to purchase a share, visit oxfordarts.com/artsincubator.