Imagine Artwear and the Faces on the Kismet, “All You Need is Love” mural.

Imagine Artwear and the Faces on the Kismet, “All You Need is Love” mural.

By Carol Supplee

 

I bought my business in June of 1992.  Almost on day one, in walked Nina Tisara who introduced me to KiSMET.  I joined immediately and have been a member and/or an officer ever since.

 

Kismet means destiny or fate and this was mine as it turned out 28 years later.

 

In 1974, I was hired by Peggy Amsterdam to work on The American Freedom Train Foundation.  We remained friends through many moves and marriages and careers.  She became a fierce defender of funding for the arts and their importance to communities.  She moved to Delaware where she was Director of the Delaware Division of the Arts.  Then she moved to Philadelphia and served as President of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.  We are shown here on a trip to China in 1998.  In Wilmington, she lived next door to Joe and Jill Biden.

 

The next person who visited me was Joe Egerton.  He also championed beautifying the retail scene on King Street and is shown here from a 2009 Washington Post article with new planters on our street.  He happened to be photographed in front of Tiffany Tavern, a famous landmark for jazz and country music.  That was also the same time Joe, John Brown, Elizabeth Stone and I came up with the design and means to wrap King Street lampposts with garlands and red bows.  Funding came from the Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association.  

 

In 2001, I again agreed to be a venue for First Night Alexandria and I continued being a site for great entertainers every year until now.  We will miss this year because of Covid19.  I have enjoyed immensely being part of a highlight of the year in Alexandria.  Fireworks for many of the early years took place at George Washington Masonic Memorial, shown here.

 

About that time, my dog, Hobbes, became the Chief Marketing Officer and Sales Associate for Imagine, appearing in ads for more than 10 years.  He is next to me here and flying the plane flying the banner with one of the themes of the Mural —Love is All You Need.  Love, love, love.

 

KSMET took a leadership role in fundraising and construction of King Street Garden’s Park, a public art project of the Alexandria Commission for the Arts and the Alexandria Park and Recreation Commission.  And when the Upper King Street Task Force came up with the idea for Supper Under the Stars, KSMET took it on.  Sacandaga Totem was also a project that KSMET helped fund and develop with benches, lighting, new trees and installation of the sculpture.

 

David Martin helped find funding for the first banners on King Street and keeping the Holiday lights lit longer than they were at the time.

 

Then came the summer of 2020.  And I realized that the mural had to recognize what was going on.  In 1984, I happened to move next door to Ann Hopkins, on Cathedral Avenue in D.C.  She was involved in a lawsuit with Price Waterhouse over being denied a partnership on the basis of gender stereotyping.  She won her partnership and became a Supreme Court landmark case.  She never compromised on what she valued or believed.  She wrote a book called “So Ordered, making partner the Hard Way.”  So Ann Hopkins took her place in my mural.  The Supreme Court is behind her.  The legend carved over the entrance reads “Equal Justice Under Law.”

 

Oh, what about the figure standing next to Nina?  That’s my father, Bert “Red” Supplee.  He was the president of his Chamber of Commerce in Wayzata, Minnesota and “Man of the Year” in 1986.  So I was born into retail.

 

Comments

  1. What a great story. Honored to be part of your 28 years of business with Imagine! You are a true gift to all. Thank you! xoxox Caron Miller

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