Life’s greatest opportunities often rise from life’s greatest challenges (and even failures). That’s the story of so many small business owners, and that’s certainly the case with Mark Rivard, owner of Rivard Art LLC.
I first learned about Mark when I saw him tweetabout packing and shipping some skateboard blanks at his local The UPS Store in Minneapolis. Shortly after, I spoke with Mark and learned more about his passion for art, how his business came to be, and, more importantly, what he’s doing to give back.
Growing up in Minneapolis, Mark’s passion was skiing. Though he had an interest in art, he humbly admits he wasn’t good at it. In fact, he almost didn’t graduate from high school because he was failing art class. How’s that for irony?
After high School, Mark moved to Colorado to pursue a career in the ski industry. After a few years there, Mark tore his ACL, MCL, PCL and meniscus while skiing and moved back home to recover.
A naturally active individual, Mark was confined to his home. One day, he grabbed one of his old skateboards and a Sharpie® marker and began sketching the Minneapolis skyline. But he didn’t stop there. He continued to sketch art on some 30 skateboards. Soon he was holding DIY art shows and traveling around the world talking to students and professionals about his skateboard art.
Check out more of Mark’s story below:
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Owning your own business has many rewards. Mark says the most rewarding part of his experience isn’t selling his artwork – it’s helping youth discover their passion for art.
Which brings me back to those skateboard blanks he was shipping. It turns out those were part of what Mark calls The Virginia Project, a project that took him to Lawrenceville, VA to teach skateboard art to the students at Brunswick High School. He spent several days teaching the students not only how to create skateboard art, but also how to share their artwork with those around them by holding art shows – a model of how he got started as a skateboard artist and small business owner.
The Virginia Project is part of Mark’s Rivard Art Education program. To Mark, the art program allows students to see how they can apply art to their lives after they finish school, something he says he feels was really lacking when he was going to school.
Comment below and tell us about the moment when you discovered your passion as a business owner.