By Zandy Dudiak, Communications coordinator
Charmette Young, who lives at Pittsburgh Mercy’s Village in the Park Community Living Arrangement (VIP CLA), is a woman who isn’t afraid to stand her ground.
Her twinkling eyes and infectious laughter let her bubbly personality shine, but her strong character shines through, too.
“She is one of those people who will only do what she wants,” Ashley Dobbins, VIP’s medical-financial specialist, says with a smile.
And what Charmette wants is to make art.
Her love of creating art got its start when she learned to make colorful woven potholders while living with her aunt in Homewood.
A few years ago, after moving from Pittsburgh Mercy’s Trail Lane Apartments to our VIP CLA, Charmette found an outlet for her artistic pursuits through Achieva’s VaultArt St
udio, located on Penn Avenue in Bloomfield. She has been creating art there since 2018.
One day, while others were drawing, she wanted to sew. So, she took up some colorful threads and began embroidering instead.
“I came up with the idea myself,” Charmette says, proudly. “I just love to do my art. I’ve got good taste.”
When she goes to work at VaultArt, she creates both small and large pieces. Some are as small as a notecard while others measure more than three feet across or tall.
“I keep my mind running,” she says. “I love to keep myself busy. If I don’t feel like doing it, I give my hands a rest.”
During the months of the COVID-19 mitigation efforts, Charmette continued working on her pieces at home with materials dropped off by the studio staff. She focuses on her high-profile work at home now, with her VaultArt appointments largely devoted to professional supports.
Charmette continues to make masterpieces in her home studio, and sell them for thousands of dollars through VaultArt.
She even has two pieces on display in a downtown exhibition through the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.
“She’s amazing,” Ashley says. “It amazes me that she does it so well and so accurately without losing interest. She covers the whole piece.”
Charmette’s paintings on canvas adorn her apartment walls. As with her embroidered pieces, they are a mix of bright colors.
Private collectors have purchased nearly all of her highly valued and rare pieces, says Benjy Blanco, creative arts manager at VaultArt.
“Her works are highly valued and very rare,” he says. “She has a waitlist of over 70 customers, including some high-profile collectors and galleries.”
Selling what she creates is an incentive to keep making art that is uniquely her style.
“I love my money,” she says with a laugh.