Bloomington's Megan Cowie is a firm believer that surprise is the spice of life.
She's hoping it's an ingredient high on our recipe card, too.
Welcome, then, to her dream. Specifically, her Eclectic Hearts.
That's the name of Cowie's new Twin Cities-based business venture, one unlike any other you've ever encountered.
It merges her love of surprise with her equal love of art. The union's byproduct: A bundle of creative joy specially delivered to your doorstep once a month.
Specifically, a new work of art from her "band of artists," a creative pool comprised of painters, photographers, printmakers and graphic designers ... herself included.
"It's actually a fairly unique concept," says Cowie, who's searched the land high and low for something similar and has yet to find one that matches her intents.
She bills the subscription idea as one "for shop-small supporters, enthusiasts of original art and free spirits."
The goal, she says, is "truly about enjoying the surprise and discovering different artists and styles."
For $19.99 a month.
"The inspiration comes from my own creative background studying interior design at Illinois State University," says the 2012 graduate.
Her design talents initially landed her a job with the fast-food franchise, working in its Champaign-based construction department creating renderings and blueprints for new store and office concepts.
"I was the creative one in the room thinking outside of the concrete world that is construction."
But Cowie says she longed to apply her interior design talents to the residential side of things, away from the world of concrete and blueprints.
She found her solution via Digital Brandworks, a company that helps small, home-based business like the one she envisioned navigate the increasingly saturated world of e-commerce.
Then, tapping into her circle of creative peers, Cowie assembled a pool of willing artists which currently numbers around a half-dozen, both local and beyond (as far way as Amsterdam, in fact).
"They are a band of very talented people, each with their own voice, style and media," she notes.
The name Eclectic Hearts "comes from the fact I personally love all different kinds of art, and that I love hanging different kinds of art in the home. I wanted to celebrate that idea ... that not everything has to be one style or very organized. It can fun and a little sporadic, with a lot of variety."
She also believes that the idea "isn't just about getting art for yourself ... I want it to be a movement, as well, about connecting people. So if you get something one month that you don't want or don't know where to put it, you can think of gifting it to a friend, or a loved one, or a coffee shop. The idea is to keep it moving."
Here's how Eclectic Hearts will work when the program opens to the public later this spring (around late March) via a page currently under development at Cratejoy.com.
At the first of every month, a new work of art will be shipped to the subscriber's doorstep for the aforementioned $19.99 fee. The art is all two-dimensional and uniformly sized at 8 x 10.
The works are prints made from the original painting, photograph, etc., accompanied by an "about the artist" piece to provide context and other information.
"I will be curating all the artwork to ensure that nothing distasteful or unpleasing is sent to subscribers," says Cowie.
"I've made it very clear that we should be creating pieces that have a happy, inspirational vibe ... something they wouldn't hesitate to hang on their own walls."
In addition, all of the work made by the artists, she says, "is exclusively for our subscribers. It will not be available for purchase on any other platform."
A portion of the subscriber fee will be donated to a charity, with subscribers notified of each month's recipient.
If you're an artist intrigued by the whole concept, you can submit samples of your work for consideration to email@example.com.