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East Point artist awarded $10K entrepreneurship grant

Four years ago, Ashley "Bella" Daramola started her art studio with $50 and a dream.

EAST POINT, Ga. — An East Point business owner is accomplishing a major goal thanks to some creative thinking and a $10,000 grant.

In the 90s, growing up on the Southside of Metro Atlanta, young Ashley Daramola said there was one main thing friends and family would ask her whenever the subject of art came up.

“That’s cute, but how are you gonna make money?”

So after high school, Daramola attended Georgia State University, earning herself a degree in psychology. Over a decade later, she discovered that her childhood dream of being an artist perhaps wasn’t as far-fetched as she once imagined.

“I started my company ArtzyBella just to make ends meet, to be able to take care of myself while I was out in the community serving,” Daramola told My East Point News.

In September 2016, Daramola decides to take a leap of faith. She quit her job, got rid of her apartment, and sold her car. And with her last $50, she bought a box of art supplies and ArtzyBella was born.

Credit: ArtzyBella CEO-Founder, Ashley Daramola after winning the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute Main Street Seed Fund

Starting out with mobile Sip+ Paint parties, Daramola quickly discovered that there was not only a place for that type of artistic expression, but a void. The mobile paint parties led to the occasional mural which, led to steady commissions.

A few years later, ArtzyBella opened a brick-and-mortar location right near the heart of downtown East Point.

“We’re apart of a growing conversation about the place art and creatives have in the global economy, neighborhood revitalization, economic development, and mental health,” affirms Daramola.

On February 27, as part of the inaugural Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute ‘s Main Street Seed Fund, Daramola and ArtzyBella beat out 20 local companies to become the first-ever recipient of their entrepreneur grant for $10,000. It was also sponsored by her alma mater - Georgia State.

Accompanying the grant is a package of workshops and an ongoing mentorship with prominent leaders in Atlanta’s business community. ⠀

Now thanks to the grant, ArtzyBella will be able to launch its product, an art therapy subscription kit, which integrates the power art therapy to encourage mental health and overall wellness - in a creative way. This was a goal that Daramola thought wouldn’t manifest for another 3 to 5 years, all thanks to some creative thinking and $50 dollars worth of art supplies.

For more information about the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute (ENI) at Georgia State University, click here or for more info about ArtzyBella, visit their website.

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