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NEWS: BHS Art Mart allows students to explore their creative side

By Amanda Melvin

There is a multitude of awesome clubs here at Batavia High School, from ultimate frisbee to book club, but not many like the new art mart. Why is it so unique? The club itself, and the items sold, are made by students, run by students, and sold by students. 

Art Mart sells all kinds of products made by artists of BHS, including shirts, sweatshirts, tote bags, mugs, water bottles, stickers, mousepads, coasters, pencil pouches, and buttons. In order to buy these products, students can buy from art mart on Thursday during all lunches in the ticket booth in the main hallway. Students can fill out an order form after seeing what is being sold and can prepay or pay later. Students could even be involved in art mart. 

In order to be a part of Art Mart students at Batavia can submit art either through the art mart Instagram or can email That art can be printed onto anything from shirts to tote bags. 

Art Mart is not only a way for students to buy products, but a fun, creative outlet for artists, and a way of building community.

 “I am so inspired by the club members who have shown up to help run the mart, shared their work to go on products, and helped to spread the word,” said Kathleen Tieri Ton, the BHS graphics teacher who has taught and lived in Batavia for about seven years, and who founded and sponsors the Future Creative Professionals club. “I’ve been just in awe of everyone’s support and love for the items at the mart! One of my absolute favorite things about teaching graphics is helping students see their designs come to life – off the screen.  And the Art Mart has been perfect for that!  Not only are student designs being put onto different products, but others are also then choosing them!” 

It is such a special thing for these students to be able to share their work with the other students of BHS.

“I love creating designs for products and also seeing what other students submit. Printing the art onto the products using heat presses is really fun too,” said current senior Rachel Balsamo, who will be majoring in fine arts next year at Illinois State University. 

“I am so appreciative to be given the opportunity to help create this dream. I love coming to graphics class every day. It is a great group of people who are involved in this. I love putting new designs onto products. It is so exciting to be involved in a real business,” said Caroline Hager, also a Batavia senior, who has been in the graphics program for three years. 

Both played a part in the development of the art mart. 

Art Mart was inspired by an old club called BHS pop shop, but it kind of just disappeared. Art Mart began when Tieri Ton, the Future Creative Professionals club, and her graphics class decided to bring art mart back. But this wasn’t an easy process. 

“To start art mart, Caroline Hager and I had to come up with the name, the branding, and logo designs, and then we had to figure out all of the small details like how much things would cost, social media advertising, what we needed, and where we would sell the products,” Balsamo said. 

She provides a great example and inspiration to those who would want to create their own market. 

If you are aspiring to create something like this, it may be hard but don’t give up. 

“Be prepared because at times it is really stressful but it’s also very fun and rewarding,” Balsamo said. “It helps to have everything figured out before starting a business like art mart. We learned that the hard way. It takes a lot of trial and error but don’t give up if you want to create something similar.”

So much time was spent by the art mart team, as well as individual artists, in order to bring these products to life, demonstrating how resourceful and hard-working students can be.

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