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2023 Stapledon Arts Creative Gift Guide: For the Young & MELANATED

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” -Pablo Picasso

In Black families, once your interests and talents have been uncovered everyone joins in. Still to this day at family functions and gatherings a question I often am asked is “are you still creating art?”

Unfortunately, the busyness of life causes us to drift away from our youthful passions.

My mother and my family members were among the first to plant seeds of artistry in me. They gifted me my first set of art supplies and continued gifting me more for Christmas, birthdays, and milestone celebrations. I remember growing up enjoying art activities such as coloring Lisa Frank fuzzy posters, coloring books, and using art kits. My fond memories of enjoying such creative activities has inspired me to create similar experiences for the next generation, moreover ensuring they have an experience that represents them throughout the entire creative process.

Representation is at the heart of our mission, which is why it is our first pillar. At the core, every human being wants to be seen, heard, and understood. Unfortunately, for melanated communities so much of mainstream media intentionally excludes us. Studies show that when young people see themselves in the material, they are more likely to imagine themselves as belonging. It is through the arts that children develop their voice. And I might argue that it is through the arts that adults create moments of peace.

With every inclusive art supply we develop we strive to ensure more Black & Brown young people see that they too belong in the arts! This 2023 guide not only highlights our products but also amplifies creative gifts developed by other amazing artists, makers, and small businesses owned by people of color.

2023 Stapledon Arts Creative Gift Guide:

For the Young & MELANATED


Marianna Jimenez Edwards, a Mexican American visual artist, who is immersed in the discovery of her Mexican culture, textile designs, and archaeology. Her work consists of oil, acrylic, and mixed media paintings.

Image: Sugar & Spice

Tiffani Glenn is a self taught visual artist based in Florida known for her stylized yet modern portraits of mainly the female subject. Her works are completed on canvas or paper using a range of mediums.

Jess Owens-Young is a multidisciplinary self-taught artist whose work highlights the resilience and joy of Black people in the United States. Jess works primarily with acrylics, oil pastels, oil pigment sticks, and acrylic inks on paper.


Coco Puzzles were created to empower children to feel a sense of purpose. The charm conveyed in every puzzle is influenced by the diverse “Trini” people and culture which is rooted in the colorful and mixed ethnicities.

Puzzles of Color! A black-owned family business operated by siblings created to provide representation in the images displayed. Puzzles of Color pieces include frameable pieces of art created by artists of color celebrating their experiences and creativity.

Image: Blooming Together by Bailey Onaga

Surf Shack is a family-run Hawaiʻi small biz dedicated to sharing aloha one piece at a time. Their puzzles are made of 100% recycled board and feature work by rad women artists. They also donate a portion of proceeds to ocean conservation initiatives.


Image: Friendship Holiday Card

Aya Paper Co. is a Black-owned sustainable stationery brand that creates greeting cards and gifts to celebrate the people and moments that matter most. All of their products are made with the well-being of the earth at the front of mind.

Seph Crafts is owned and operated by a military spouse and mom who is passionate about helping people reduce anxiety and stress in their daily lives. Her offering includes a range of journals, planners, and other stationery products.

Soular Powered is a Stationary Company based in Harlem + Chicago. Their products highlight Black culture and lifestyle ranging from leisure, celebrations, and holiday inspired designs.


WE ARE An Inclusive Art Supply Company that Champions Representation through Creativity. Our art supply products ensure that melanated communities are empowered through seeing representation and receiving support in activating their creative skills.

Bellen’s More Than Peach is an inclusive school supplies brand providing "skin color" crayons founded by now 13 yr old, 8th grader Bellen W. The mission of More than Peach is to foster leadership, empathy, and curiosity of kids everywhere in innovative ways.

Beam Paints is indigenous family owned handmade watercolor company and the result of a multi-generational love of pigment, paint, colour, and innovation. They manufacture and ship all their colours from their family workshop in M’Chigeeng First Nation on beautiful Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron.


NiLu is a Harlem Based Gift Shop with a local and online presence that platforms independent makers. They specialize in creating and curating excellently crafted accessories, exceptionally thoughtful gifts, and distinctly beautiful home goods.

Art Retail Therapy is a Latin owned art supply store in Jackson Heights. They are more than an art store, but also an art and community space hosting art exhibitions, arts & crafts workshops, and local vendor events.

The Studio Museum in Harlem is the nexus for artists of African descent locally, nationally, and internationally and for work that has been inspired and influenced by Black culture. Their online store hosts a variety of products aligned with their mission.

So today, I encourage you to examine “What did you do growing up that brought you peace and happiness?? Try doing that now, as an adult! - Stephanie Brown

Use our guide to grab a gift for the young people in your life and the adults who want to hold on to their creative heART.

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