Known throughout the Westchester community as the “happy artist,” Marla Beth Enowitz of Marla Beth Designs in Rye Brook is making art approachable from every angle. With a focus on hyper locality and creation without boundaries, we caught up with the glitter queen to chat about running a small business and lifting her community up alongside her.
How did you become an artist?
I am a hobby-turned-pandemic-business — one of the silver linings of the quarantine. When I was younger, I enjoyed the reaction of giving someone a piece of art, something I created. I’m a self-taught artist. I call myself a student of Bob Ross because I started in my parents’ living room at 7 years old with an easel and a paintbrush watching his show, and I took it from there and developed my own style. I like to view the way I create now as a form of color therapy. You don’t necessarily need a skill to create — art is medicinal, and finding your outlet can be so wonderful for mental health and beyond.
Both in the arts and as a small business, how do you approach your business model?
I started the business not knowing it would be a business. My platform was more about fostering a community where everyone’s welcome. My art is not political; it’s not divisive. It doesn’t make you choose a side; its goal is to spark a child-like joy that feels really lost as we grow older. I structured my social media around being that special place you can visit no matter where you are and come away with something positive and happy. I wanted my art to be more than something physical that you can hang on a wall; I wanted it to transcend into other areas. Put it on clothing, put it on jewelry, and make it accessible to as many people as possible.
You’ve done a lot of collaboration with local brands, driving home the importance of nurturing where your community is. Can you tell me about how those collaborations came about?
I always believe that you should collaborate, not compete; that’s always stayed in my head. When I’m out networking and meeting other businesses and other artists, I always think, what can we do together? I’ve partnered with many wonderful, like-minded businesses. One is a fashion collaboration now in its third year; there’s a jewelry line with Zaltas [in Mamaroneck]; as well as advising local companies on how to get their mission out in front of prospective clients. I really love being able to help other small businesses, because we all started from somewhere, with 10 followers and big dreams, and now that I’m on the other side of that, I want to share what I learned to get here.
How have you worked to foster your community in the nonprofit sector?
I’m a committee member for the Ronald McDonald House for its annual Dashing for Dylan fundraiser. It’s done every October, and I implemented a craft booth while also being a committee member with marketing and donations. I’ve also partnered with the Arc Westchester and gave Zoom art lessons during lockdown because the organization didn’t have an arts program in person. Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital has a very special place in my heart and currently has two huge pieces there that I did as a respite of happiness for the kids. A new passion project of mine this year was for October, for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In lieu of having my own gallery, I like to do rotating art exhibits throughout Westchester. My latest was at Farida Skin Studio in White Plains that not only raised money for White Plains Hospital and its breast cancer research division but brought the community together to lift up our friends who are in remission and spread awareness of the incredible things the hospital is doing.
For more fun, follow Marla Beth’s happy Instagram @marlabeth_designs.