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UMGC Alumni AssociationThe Art of Entrepreneurship: Myrtis Bedolla '02 Merges Art and Business

Growing up in Chicago, Myrtis Bedolla ’02 was profoundly inspired by two distinct influences. During the school year, she was immersed in the arts by parents who were musicians and collectors. In the summertime, she rolled up her sleeves to get hands-on experience with her entrepreneur grandfather at his numerous businesses.

In 1988, these passions would converge when Berdolla launched an art consultancy that would later become Galerie Myrtis—voted best gallery by the Baltimore Sun in 2017.

A hard-won education

Bedolla’s journey to where she is now took many interesting turns along the way. She married early and moved often with her former husband, who served in the military. While she had earned her high school diploma from a well-respected college preparatory in her native Chicago, Bedolla’s life on the road made it difficult to pursue a college degree.

She began her college career in fits and starts, changing schools often as she and her husband moved to different stations. She attended school in Texas and Hawaii, struggling each time to get her credits to transfer to the new institution.

“I thought I was never going to finish my education,” she admits.

After Bedolla returned to the states after living in Germany, she attempted to enroll at multiple universities. “I ran into such resistance in terms of schools accepting all of my credits,” she explains. “I was so close to graduation, and they would tell me we don’t accept this and you have to take that again.”

When she contacted UMGC, it was a different story. “It was like a Godsend,” she notes. “It just relieved such anxiety I felt about completing my degree.”

Falling into her career on a dare

Bedolla studied business administration at UMGC, and she went to work on the subscription/marketing team at the American Physical Therapy Association. However, her passion of art remained an important part of her personal life. Her brother-in-law was an artist, and she admired his work. One day, she was enjoying lunch with a friend next door to an art gallery when her friend said something unexpected.

“She challenged me to go in and ask them what it takes to secure an exhibition,” Bedolla recalls. Not one to turn down a dare, she did just that—and succeeded. Her friend reached out to other artists on Bedolla’s behalf, and soon she found herself working on the side as an art consultant.

“I took the marketing skills I learned at UMGC to help artists develop professional portfolios,” she explains.

She worked at her subscription/marketing job part time while building her art clientele. In 1988, she took the leap and founded Creative Artisans, her own art consultancy. At this time, she didn’t have a dedicated gallery space. Instead, she spent her time knocking on gallery doors to make contacts and organize exhibitions.

In addition to working with artists and clients, Bedolla continued to add to her education and skill sets to gain a deeper understanding of the art world. She received curatorial training at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and earned an online certificate in cultural theory for Curators from the Node Center for Curatorial Studies, Berlin, Germany.

Shaping the Future: Chair of UMGC’s Art Advisory Committee

Additionally, Bedolla is passionate about giving back to the school that helped her achieve her goals. She also serves as Chair of the Board of UMGC’s Art Advisory Committee.

“That role is a position I am very honored to have,” she says. The board is appointed by the president of the university and provides advice on art-related matters to the Arts Program and assists in securing resources and funding for the Arts Program.

“One of our greatest challenges as a board is that UMGC’s collection is one of our best-kept secrets,” Bedolla explains. “This collection is incredible and so rich historically. We want it to be better known.”

You can view selections from UMGC’s Maryland, Asian, and International artists collections here.

Grand opening

With a stable of artists and an established client base, Bedolla opened Galerie Myrtis in 2006. Today, she does everything from representing artists, placing art in major museum collections, and acting as a consultant for private collectors to curating exhibitions.

“I have found my place,” she says. “There were times when business was not as successful as it is now, and I was doubting, but I came to the realization that all businesses have their challenges and ebbs and flows in their growth.” Today, Bedolla owns one of the most successful galleries in the country.

Bedolla is running the business with her middle son Noel and her current husband Alexander Hyman, along with other staff members on her team. “I am overwhelmed with joy to be able to have him here,” she says. But that’s not her only gratification. “Satisfaction comes from working with really terrific artists and the ability to not only sell their work, but have it placed in major collections and with collectors who are so happy to be able to acquire work live with it and enjoy daily.”

Bedolla has her sights set on an even brighter future. Personally, she’d like to go on to earn an MBA degree. Professionally, she aims to participate in international arts fairs, such as Art Basel in Switzerland.

“Art has enriched my life in ways I would never had imagined,” concludes Bedolla.

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