Local Entrepreneur And Artist Brings Flourishing Creativity to Butler County
At its very core, art is defined as the expression of creativity and imagination. It’s the creation of works that are to be appreciated for both their beauty and emotional impact. We typically think of art as a picture or a sculpture, but it can be argued that, by definition, people can also become the artwork. Sherry Armstead, at her core, is art personified.
Though she is an incredible artistic figure today, Armstead has not always been involved in the creative industry. Throughout her adolescence she stayed true to her family’s passion for sports and dedicated every minute of her free time to training in archery. It wasn’t until she was 15 years old that she found her creative outlet—beauty. A family friend noticed her eye for detail in the preparation of her hair and suggested that she attend beauty school.
“I completed my schooling in two years and was working 20 hours a week by my junior year of high school. Because of the archery, I was driving to succeed and hit whatever I aimed for,” she explains.
Armstead’s passion and drive have been the foundation of her life, always leading her to aim high and achieve great success. She later found herself employed as a successful realtor with a Re/Max franchise. It was the events of September 11, 2001 that led her to reimagine her career and set her gaze elsewhere.
“That day led me to say, ‘From now on I want to do what makes me feel good and just make art,’” she expresses. “One night I had a vivid dream. The Re/Max sign changed to Art On Symmes and the agent office changed to artist studios.”
The rest is history. Armstead, who completely redesigned her Re/Max office to fit the vision from her dream, quit the real estate industry to open Art On Symmes, an eclectic art gallery located on Symmes Road in Fairfield. She describes her galleries as places where visitors are able to purchase unusual and one-of-a-kind pieces of art at affordable prices. The products and pieces that are found within and on the walls make the perfect gifts for the hard-to-buy person. The gallery, which also carries apparel, offers personal stylist services to assist with selecting the perfect outfit for vacations and special occasions.
While Art On Symmes is filled to the brim with art, the building itself serves as a beautiful fixture with uniquely crafted pieces greeting each guest as they pull into the parking lot. The space is a true testament to Armstead’s vision and to the pieces that can be found inside.
Art On Symmes has now expanded to a second location in Hamilton, and sells one hundred percent American-made products such as pottery, blown glass sculptures, metal works, garden art, paintings, wood works, enamel works, jewelry and apparel. This is all made possible through their representation of more than 400 American artists and craftsmen.
“Quality over quantity,” Armstead states when reflecting on the products she chooses to house and sell in her gallery. “In the beginning my husband would say, don’t buy anything you’re not willing to bring home. For the most part, that has stuck with me over the past 15 years.”
While some of the artists represented by the gallery are local, she also spends time searching for unique pieces around the country.
To this day, the transition continually proves to be a natural one fueled by fervor. Whether she’s making it, selling it or viewing it, art feeds Armstead’s soul and gives her an outlet for personal reflection and expression.
“It’s a way of expressing inner feelings without saying a word. In our rushing society it is all too common to lose sight of what is really important to us intellectually. I’ve found that if I just follow my interest, my creative process goes beyond my limits and affects others in an inspiring way,” Armstead says.
Though she has been very successful since her transition into the art world, Armstead stresses that for her this isn’t a job; it’s a community service.
“I’m inspired by the people I meet and the challenge of the hunt for new and different art. It’s rewarding that, for the most part, people like what I choose,” Armstead reflects. “I love that each day is new and different and there’s a new challenge and new people to work with. It’s also great that I am helping educate and inspire others.”