Self-determining 15 y/o local artist starting PAFA on scholarship this Fall, but first — business! UPDATE: Falls Flea moved to SUNDAY
You might remember Soleil Hawley from EastFallsHouse.com, the local history/home renovation blog Steve and I wrote about her family’s house, the former “Hohenadel Mansion” on Indian Queen Lane.
The oldest of three kids (brother Finn 12, and sister Lilia, 8) with both parents working & traveling professionals, Soleil rolls with extra responsibility just fine, thank you.
In fact, at fifteen she’s not only already graduated from high school, but she’s been accepted into the prestigious Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts‘ BFA program (majoring in painting). On scholarship, yet.
Soleil’s making up the rest in student loans, and contributing to her education as best she can, inspired by her mother who put herself through college and law school. Soleil shares a similar drive for business, too, and a love for all things entrepreneurial — especially on a local level.
According to Soleil’s research, for a small Fine Art enterprise to work in East Falls, it’ll need to offer unique, high-quality, and fairly-priced items. For her first market experience, she’s thrilled to have a table at Falls Flea this Saturday (nope, SUNDAY!) — this year, Philly Flea will be hosting, and it’ll be bigger and better than ever!
Soleil’s looking forward to this year’s famous flea market at McMichael park, and hoping some sales and exposure here will be a good starting point for the career in art she’s dreaming of (and working towards).
We recently had the chance to ask her some questions about her art for sale, her family, and just being a teenager in East Falls.
So what will you be selling at Falls Flea? How much?
I’m selling 9 x 12 watercolor paintings. They are often of organic forms — flowers, branches, succulents. I work very hard on them and I feel as though they have a good amount of aesthetic appeal, and also, I hope they convey some emotion too. For instance, one of my favorite pieces is a joyful magnolia branch watercolor I painted by the Schuylkill on one of the nicest Spring days ever.
Generally speaking, they’ll be priced between $20-$40 (depending on frame). Hopefully, I’ll earn some money for art supplies, and then I can make more paintings to sell and so the cycle continues. But this endeavor is more about community than profit; I’m glad to have the opportunity to sell my work to my neighbors.
And I’m so excited to be accepted into PAFA! I’ve got such wonderful people around me that allow me to go to college and start a business at 15 — I consider myself very fortunate. I hope to create a business that enriches the community and helps produce new opportunities for others.
Name something you love, and why.
This is going to seem very cliché, I’m sure! But I’m grateful and indebted to my family. Without their support, I wouldn’t have accomplished what I have. My siblings are hilarious, beautiful, and talented, and I am so lucky to be around them. My parents have given me a priceless gift: they have helped me through college both financially and emotionally.
Name something you hate, and why.
Is it bad that the first thing that came to mind was student loans? It’s odd to be concerned about that this much at 15, especially considering the scholarships I’ve been awarded, but financial issues still bother me.
Is it true that this is part of your mom’s plan to get you out of the house?
HAHA! I don’t think she’ll let me leave the house till I’m 40. (No offense, Mom.)
How’s East Falls for a teenager? Scale of 1-5, with 5 being awesome.
4.9 ! All the business owners and people here are incredibly kind to me, and it’s a great place to spend time with my friends.
What could be better about this neighborhood?
Maybe a coffee shop? Wait a second…
How’s been your experience at the Community College of Philadelphia? Better or worse than you expected?
Far, far better. It’s likely that people hear a lot of negative stigma about community colleges, but they provide a great start for people who aren’t sure if they want to attend a four-year college, or don’t have the same financial opportunities as others. CCP has treated me wonderfully, and everyone I’ve met there has been a huge positive influence on my life.
Any expectations for PAFA? Concerns?
No concerns, really! I’m expecting to make fantastic friends there, especially considering I’ve already met some of the new students who will be attending, and they seem great! I’ve taken about six summer courses there, and I enjoyed the teaching methods used, along with the environment, so I can only imagine how great being at PAFA all the time will be.
Keep your eye out for Soleil at Falls Flea this May 21st — and in art installations and White Houses in the future…
(NOTE: Flea Market rain date Sunday 5/22. More info here.)