The history of Ampersand Art Supply

Ampersand Art Supply began as a collaboration between a graduate student at the University of Texas, Elaine Salazar, and her friend and inventor, Charles Ewing.

Charles had developed a unique, clay-coated panel for his own artwork that allowed him to achieve amazing detail but also allowed him to use the surface with scratchboard techniques. Elaine’s background was in art history, so she was aware of the time-honored tradition of panel painting. She became excited about the possibilities of Charles’ Claybord and how to make it available to artists everywhere.

She and three of her classmates created a business plan around Claybord and won a national business contest that allowed them to establish Ampersand Art Supply with Charles and his wife Barbara in 1993.

Their first order for Claybord came from Pearl Paint in New York in June of 1994, marking the introduction of a new category of modern painting panels for artists. Over the years, Ampersand has grown the panel category by introducing several more innovative painting panels with unique and inspirational surface coatings suitable for all media, from oils to pastels.

Twenty-five years later, Ampersand Art Supply is still a small, family-owned company located in Buda, Texas, less than 20 miles from where it all began. And Elaine Salazar, the grad student with a vision of innovative painting panels, is now our president and CEO. Ampersand’s factory team constructs each panel by hand to ensure the superior quality and craftsmanship that makes Ampersand panels the #1 choice of professional artists. Ampersand is dedicated to supporting artists in their creative process by providing surfaces that are not only a joy to create on but that will also withstand the test of time.

Ampersand’s commitment to quality and archival principles led us to engineer the only archivally sealed panels on the market today.

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