Genoa eighth-grader among Ohio Art Market’s featured artists

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Genoa Middle School eighth-grader Addison Shoults has always been drawn to art, diving into different mediums such as painting and cross-stitching. 

When the state shut down schools at the start of the pandemic last year, she used her time at home to merge the two art forms — with satisfying results. 

With more than 50 pieces completed, Shoults is among the several local artists whose works are currently on display and for sale at the Ohio Art Market in Uptown Westerville. At 13, she was the youngest artist to participate in an outdoor event throughout Uptown last Friday where Ohio Art Market artists conducted live art demonstrations and shared how they create their works. During the event, Shoults embroidered an acrylic painting of a cardinal she completed earlier. 

“I got into it because I’ve always loved art and I always kind of did it during study hall,” she said.

Shoults’ interest in exploring new materials and methods is no surprise. She was always willing to try new things in class, said Juls Rathje, Shoults’ seventh-grade art teacher at Genoa.

“Her artwork had a deeper expression,” Rathje said. “She had a lot of thought going into her work.”

Shoults had been painting with acrylics and watercolors before she learned the basics of cross-stitching as a sixth-grader. While at home during the pandemic last year, she found examples of stitched paintings online and decided to give it a try. 

She immediately loved the mixed medium.

“I liked how the string and paint made both stand out more. It added texture.”

She devoted her spare time to her craft, building a collection of pieces often inspired by nature, plants and wildlife. She sold some pieces to friends and kept others on display along her bathroom wall. 

During art class last school year, Shoults heard Rathje talk about how she sold pieces of pottery she made and was inspired to take a similar route. Several months ago, she noticed the Ohio Art Market during a walk through Uptown Westerville. Her father knew the owner, Herb Davis, and inquired about Shoults possibly selling her paintings at the shop. The owner directed Shoults to apply online to be a featured artist, then met with her to review some sample pieces and agreed to showcase Shoults’ works alongside the many local artists featured at the shop. 

For the past month, Shoults’ pieces have been on display. She received her first sale during Friday’s Ohio Art Market event.

Rathje, who along with her family visited Shoults during Friday’s event, purchased one of her pieces that featured the state of Ohio.

“It was awesome to see her grow as an artist and to be really excited about what she was doing,” Rathje said.