The Teal Canary
Local art studio provides a place to create
Writer / Michelle Kaufman
Photographer / Amy Payne
Amy Hommell has been working on her craft since childhood and opened an art studio in downtown Greenwood to provide a bigger space to share her love and passion for art with the community.
She opened Teal Canary in 2013 after giving private art lessons for several years in her home.
“I’ve always painted, I’ve always drawn, I’ve always been an artist my whole life,” Hommell says. “When I opened, I envisioned it to be a space for me to do my art and sell my murals and my personal art. I thought, ‘well, I’ll throw in some classes here and there, and we’ll call it a day.’”
Her art studio became a gathering place for other artists and a place for her to have lessons and host classes.
“Little did I know that it was going to completely turn into this business of impacting people’s lives through visual arts or even just impacting their lives through them creating,” Hommell says.
Hommell believes making art with a friend, family member or oneself is purposeful time to create something. She says the space has turned into more than she ever imagined, and the space is available to rent for parties and showers.
One of the most impactful moments in Hommel’s career came when she was approached by a man who wanted a private art lesson for he and his wife’s third anniversary. The event was on Hommell’s son’s birthday, but she made it work.
During the lesson at Vino Villa, Hommell learned the couple did missions work, which is something she had always wanted to do.
“They kind of started getting emotional, and we all got emotional for a second. He said, ‘we’ve been praying for an artist for two years [to go on a trip],’” Hommell says.
Hommell traveled to Nicaragua, where she did art with orphans. She had a translator, but the kids watched her movements and picked up the red when Hommell did.
“It was indescribable, really, you can’t describe what you see,” Hommell says. “Most of those children had never even touched a paint brush before, let alone saw canvas. They don’t even really have stores there. Their hearts are so full, though. It was probably the most incredible experience I’ve had as an artist — to be able to share my knowledge with people.”
Hommell also won the Color the County Contest in 2016 that was put on by the Johnson County Community Foundation. Hommel’s mural design of eight mandalas represent the eight fields of interest areas that the foundation gives money to, such as education, agriculture and health and human services.
The mural was designed and sketched by Hommell on the side of a building on Main Street next to DeBaun’s Auto Service. More than 300 community members showed up to help paint the mural, and Hommell finished the higher areas.
Hommell describes the feeling of driving by the mural as surreal and something that makes her happy. People will text her to tell her they think of her when passing by it or send her photos of their kids in front of the mural.
“It’s a representation of the beautiful things that we see, and the things that we all experience,” she says. “We all experience agriculture and we all experience education. All of the things that the community foundation gives back to, we are all experiencing every day. It just makes you happy to see a symbol on one of those mandalas.”
Hommell says there is still more to do in the community, and her love for art comes from confidence in her ability. She’s a visual person and knows others learn visually, too.
“I think that when you can teach someone visually or give someone a visual picture, it just speaks louder than words can,” Hommell says.