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Your Life Calling With Jane Pauley

Art as a Second Career

What happens when life gets out of the way

Cindy Griffith and Ira Sollace: Finish What You Start

Cindy Griffith, 56, knows it’s never too late.

When she was growing up, she wanted to be an artist like her dad. He was her mentor and encouraged her to be an artist if that’s what she wanted to do. Then he died suddenly.

Though she had hoped to attend art school, Griffith instead chose a more stable career in state government.

“I just kind of put it off,” Griffith says. “But something started to click with me about three years ago. I started to have a clear vision of what I wanted to do, but I wasn’t sure how I would get there in this economy.”

Today, Griffith is married with an adult son. After nearly 30 years of working for the state of Vermont, she is back pursuing her artistic passion and now doing painting.  Last year, she opened Hunger Mountain Arts with her husband, Ira Sollace. Griffith plans to retire next year and she hopes to pursue her art full time.

“I’m realizing that it’s never too late,” Griffith says. “Age is just a number. You are only limited by yourself.”

Griffith works with oils and pastels, using the natural environment for inspiration. Her work has been displayed across Vermont and the Northeast. She travels to festivals and shows on weekends with her husband.

Griffith says promoting a new venture can be tough. She took business classes and read several books before opening the studio. She also continues to study her craft by taking art classes.

“At some point you have to gauge the level of professionalism you can obtain. Do you want to be a neighborhood artist or just make art for your friends and family? From there you can take it as far as you want.”

Sollace, Griffith’s 60-year-old husband, also works for the state of Vermont. He sells his wood creations at the couple’s studio. He says art is a passion that he and his wife have always shared, but life just got in the way.

“I enjoy doing what I love,” Sollace says. “My son is now doing it as a hobby. It’s something that has brought all three of us together.”

Latisha R. Gray is a freelance Web producer and writer based in Washington, D.C.

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