Alpena, MI - August 2022
Earlier this month, The Sunset Project was honored to award Mariah Brancheau of Alpena, Michigan, with a Sawyer J. Boyd Creatives Grant as part of the 2023 grant cycle!
This year's grant recipients each received $2,000 worth of funding to put towards resources that would help advance their personal creative endeavors and help them pursue their passions further.
We sat down with Mariah after the awards ceremony to discuss her unique story, why she applied, and what she is hoping to accomplish with her funding!
Hi Mariah - can you introduce yourself quickly for those who may not know you already?
Hi! My name is Mariah Brancheau, and I am the owner, artist, and art educator behind Lovely Little Lettering Co., based out of Alpena, Michigan.
How would you describe your creative pursuit to someone unfamiliar with it?
Over the course of the past four years of running Lovely Little Lettering Co., I have experimented with every art form and medium I could get my hands on. After years of trial and error, today, my signature style showcases modern hand lettering, blooming florals, vibrant colors, and beautiful words flowing through watercolor, acrylics, ink, and chalk.
Through my business, I have designed and sold countless signs, cards, ornaments, watercolor pieces, and prints. I have painted murals and designed chalkboards for businesses across Northern Michigan. I have been commissioned for graphic design work, including logo designs and custom designs for promotions, programs, and more. In addition to art and design services, I offer public and private art classes for all ages and skill levels.
What or who inspired you to pursue a career in this space?
As an artist, my purpose and hope for all of my work is to inspire others to create, to realize there is wonderful joy ahead, and to remember that they are so loved. I draw inspiration from so many places: my faith, florals, nature, scripture verses, my hometown, other art, and just about everywhere. As an art teacher, my hope for my students (and all people) is that they would look for beauty and inspiration in everything and would continue to add to the beauty around them.
Can you share a memorable experience or milestone from your creative journey?
I have met so many amazing people and have been blessed with so many incredible opportunities through my business. I have received nothing less than an outpouring of love and support from the community for my art, and continuing to create beautiful things gives me an outlet to give back to others. Every art show, art class, and the in-person event has been so memorable for me. It’s so humbling when someone comes up to me and shares how my art has impacted them or made them smile. Connecting with others and growing my community through events has not only given me new customers but, more importantly, new friends.
A specific milestone that is so special to me was painting my first mural as a part of Downtown Alpena’s Fresh Waves Mural Project in 2021. Driving past my first mural and seeing how that project stretched me creatively and knowing how I’ve grown since then just never gets old.
How have challenges or setbacks shaped your approach and vision?
Every business venture comes with its own challenges and difficulties. I have been blessed with incredible resources through my family and the community around me that have helped me through every hurdle, large or small, that my business has faced. Thanks to the help of all those around me, I know that any challenges I face, or business mistakes I make will grow and teach me to become a better business owner in the future.
How do you envision your creative passion evolving over the next year?
Over the next year, I plan to continue growing Lovely Little Lettering Co and expanding my products and projects. I will continue teaching art classes, painting murals, attending art shows, and sharing my work with others. I believe building a website will be a huge next step for my business, giving me a new outlet to share my art and connect with my growing community.
How do you plan to utilize your grant funding to further your creative journey?
I will be utilizing the Sawyer J. Boyd Creatives Grant to fund a website for my business. I will be working with a few of the Sunset Project members to design a website where I will be able to sell products and connect with customers and clients. I am so excited!
What advice or message would you share with someone looking to pursue their own creative dreams?
Keep your eyes open to the beauty around you and find creative inspiration in it. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there and share your art and gift with others. You have a uniquely beautiful, creative voice that the world needs to hear! I am cheering you on and can’t wait to see what beautiful things you create!
Are there any social media profiles, websites, or other resources where our readers can follow your journey and/or support your work?
I’d love for you to follow along on Instagram and Facebook at @lovelylittleletteringco, where I’ll share my latest projects behind the scenes and invite you to my art shows and events! Before the website is up and running, you can shop a few of my products on my Etsy shop, LovelyLilLetteringCo.