The Jarea Art Studio Story
Jarea Art Studio began in 1993, when mother-daughter team Jantje Blokhuis-Mulder and Andrea Mulder-Slater combined their names and their talent to form Jarea. Beginning with original paintings Jantje and Andrea then produced handmade floorcloths and later designed, constructed and decorated woodburned board games and boxes, as the women found a market for their work.
Andrea's husband, artist Geoff Slater, joined the studio in 1997 and today contributes his talents in the form of paintings, drawings and murals.
Today at our art studio, you can find handmade, original floorcloths, oil, watercolor & acrylic paintings, folk art, wooden boxes, pickets, woodburnings, murals, painted furniture, stone sculptures, board games, abstract art, coffee paintings, line paintings and joy!
Art education is important to the artists of Jarea Art Studio which is why, in 1997, Jan and Andrea co-founded KinderArt.com, a website featuring thousands of free art lessons for children ages 4 to 14, which registers close to four million page views a month. Geoff contributes illustrations to this website. In their own community of St. Andrews by the Sea, New Brunswick, the three have regularly visited the classrooms at Vincent Massey Elementary School, Sir James Dunn Academy, Deer Island Community School, St. Stephen Middle School, and for the four years, they taught art to thousands of Grand Circle Travel bus tour visitors.
In her capacity as a board member and later, executive director at Sunbury Shores (an arts and nature centre in St. Andrews), Jan enlisted Andrea’s expertise and together, the two spearheaded the CLASS program. This program ensures that all children in St. Andrews, as well as at-risk youth from the neighbouring communities of St. George and St. Stephen, have the opportunity to study art at Sunbury Shores. The initiative, now in its fifth year, has seen close to 400 students take part. Meanwhile, Geoff, in his role as youth mentor and artist in the school at Sir James Dunn Academy, has for the past number of years worked with middle and high school students to design and execute murals in the school.
The artists of Jarea have been involved in a number of community projects and they have literally been painting the town with bright, colourful murals To date, many indoor and outdoor surfaces have been painted and several of these large-scale works of art can be found throughout St. Andrews. Some of the more visible projects include the town’s water reservoir, the King Street wall of Cockburn’s Drug Store, the side of the Hardware store, the Kiwanis Oceanfront Campground, Kandyland, interior doors at the Passamaquoddy Lodge and the walls of the girls and boys washrooms at Vincent Massey Elementary School. In addition, several private homeowners in town have allowed their walls and garage doors to become canvases for these three murals.
Hank Mulder was Jantje's husband, Andrea's father, Geoff's father-in-law and friend and Jannique's grandpa. He left us far too soon on February 25, 2009.
Hank was a computer specialist, web designer and all around cool guy. Without him, JareaArt.com and KinderArt.com would not exist... he taught Andrea everything she knows about web design and he was always 100% supportive of our efforts -- artistic and otherwise.
He was, and will always be, our inspiration.
Hank, Dad... we love you and miss you.