My name is Sara, and I, along with my gallery partner Jason, own Paradigm Gallery + Studio. We fundraised our first Kiva loan last year, and after a year of growth, are back to fundraise our SECOND! Read below to learn more about us, and how our business has been doing since our first loan.
I am originally from New Hope, Pennsylvania, USA and Jason, is originally from GuangZhou, China. Jason and I both discovered our interest in art as a possible life path around high school. Jason, who is now fluent in three languages, but was still dealing with a language barrier at the time, was initially attracted to art as a means of communication through a universal language. My love for creating developed gradually, from crocheting next to my nana as a small child, to discovering costume design in high school, to discovering fiber arts in college.
Jason and I both attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where we first met. I began doing some of the styling and makeup design for Jason’s photo shoots, and we started collaborating frequently. When we both graduated, we wanted to find a way to continue to collaborate, and thought a shared studio space would be a great way to do that. I stumbled upon a place while searching for studios that happened to have a great storefront window, and really ran with Jason’s casual suggestion of “maybe we could even start a gallery space”. Before I knew it, I was hanging out in a bookstore reading “How to Form an LLC”.
Running on an impulse and lots of faith, we picked up the keys, and began renovating. After pulling hundreds, maybe thousands, of staples out of the walls, figuring out what to do with the surprising amount of broken furniture in the basement, and conquering just a few additional fix-ups, we officially had our first home as a gallery and studio space. Today we are in a space about three times the size in a much better retail location, and have now both switched to making this our full-time job, with side jobs to make ends meet. It feels fantastic to have been able to make this our focus in our lives, and we are excited to continue to grow.