In an effort to give back to the community and create a space for kids to grow as artists, Jonathon Romain and his wife purchased an old school in Peoria, Ill., that they recently turned into a local arts center. To create a professional and fun atmosphere, Romain keeps all his printing in-house, which saves on marketing and promotions allowing him to put more money into programming. “From printing posters, signage and indoor murals we have been able to save a fortune on creating a beautiful and professional-looking operation,” he says.
Working with two Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-4000 and an old iPF 8400S, Romain prints the collateral for the Romain Arts & Culture Community Center as well as his own artwork. “I’ve been printing giclées of my art for over 20 years, and I’ve owned several machines,” he says. “The Canon PRO-4000 is by far superior and more affordable than any other machine I’ve owned. The color quality and speed on these printers only gets better and better.”
This summer, the Romains offered the first summer program at the new arts center and the printers played a big part in the success of summer fun. “We had the kids talk about issues that affect them in their community, and we let them lead the conversation,” Romain says. “They came up with a number of topics of concern for them and their community, and we selected the top three: violence, drug abuse and the dropout rate.”
The kids then created murals that were framed and presented to the superintendent of the school district. “Each one of the children received a smaller framed copy of images to take home to their family and friends,” he says.
Romain is already eyeing projects for the future. “I want to print outdoor murals and hang artwork created by the children on the building. I can only imagine what that would do for their confidence,” he says.
Romain credits in-house printing to help keep expenses low and put money towards the art center. “The two things that I’ve found to be the most instrumental in my success as an artist are the ability to reproduce my own art on demand and to frame it,” he says.
Using his art, Romain is giving back to his community the best way that he knows how – by instilling a sense of pride within the kids and giving them a chance to use their voices and, perhaps, inspiring future artists along the way.