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 or 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.