The Twin Cities’ corner art store brings a global network to Grand Avenue.
Beth Bergman will be recognized for her leadership in business, arts advocacy, and the art materials industry when the International Art Materials Association inducts her into its Hall of Fame. The honor takes place at the association’s annual conference and trade show, Art Materials World, which is held this year in Minneapolis, May 1–3.
Bergman owns and operates Wet Paint artists’ supplies on St. Paul’s Grand Avenue. She has grown the business over 29 years to become one of the most known and respected independent art supply retailers in North America. An artist herself, Bergman was a founding member of the WARM Gallery. She actively supports other artists and arts organizations, including the Minnesota Museum of American Art, where she has served on the board.
She is also a long-time champion of independent businesses through her work in the Grand Avenue Business Association and MetroIBA, the Twin Cities’ Independent Business Alliance.
“It’s easy for all of us to look at small businesses and think of them as ‘just local,’” Bergman says. “In reality, small business owners sometimes have the most direct relationships with a global network of suppliers and customers, which is one reason they can do so much to enrich their neighborhoods and communities.”
Wet Paint stocks 35,000 creative products and is a regular stop for manufacturers from around the world, who come to discuss new products and trends in art making with Bergman and her staff. The store has become a hub for the Twin Cities arts community, but also for visiting artists and, through online sales, for artists across the country and abroad.
“This Hall of Fame induction is Beth’s peers in the industry saying, ‘This woman has done an outstanding job,’” says Reggie Hall, executive director of the North Carolina–based International Art Materials Association. The organization is known as “NAMTA,” initials taken from its earlier identity as a national trade group. “Beth is highly regarded across the industry,” Hall says. “She’s very knowledgeable and more than happy to share that knowledge with anyone.”
NAMTA has 463 member businesses in 28 countries. It has a dual mission of advancing the industry and supporting art education for youth and adults through grants and other programs. The group expects approximately 1,300 people to attend its Art Materials World event at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
Bergman served on the NAMTA board of directors from 2006 through 2012. She’s led the creation of a showcase at the annual conference for new products and concepts to support diverse artists.
“Wet Paint is an internationally recognized art supply store, thanks in large part to education and connections gained through NAMTA,” Bergman says. “Those things that you gain from, you give back to.”
About Wet Paint
Since 1976, Wet Paint has been an independently owned art supply store on St. Paul’s vibrant Grand Avenue, serving the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul and the world beyond. A favorite of professionals, students, beginners, and young people, Wet Paint has been named “Best Art Supplies” store by locally published City Pages seven times in recent years. Owner and operator Beth Bergman is proud to have a staff of knowledgeable working artists who can assist in the selection of materials for any creative project. The store stocks tens of thousands of products from around the world for work in almost any medium, including thousands of decorative and handmade papers.