Tracey Tackett, owner of Sip & Dipity Paint Bar in downtown Springfield, is finishing up some business she left undone some time ago.
Years ago, Tackett, a current nontraditional student at Wittenberg, was taking art, marketing, and management classes at Clark State Community College, but then life intervened for the Springfield native, and she wasn’t able to complete her degree.
“The feeling of leaving this part of me incomplete never left me, and as my daughter Morgan and our son Mason (a seventh grader at the Global Impact STEM Academy), became older, I knew I had unfinished business,” said Tackett, who is a product of Shawnee High School and the commercial art program at the Springfield Clark Career Technology Center. “I had developed as a person to finally know what I wanted to do when I grew up or at least for the rest of my time here on earth, so I returned a year ago to finish what I started. I plan to use my degree to enhance my opportunities as an entrepreneur and develop my love for helping others as a servant leader in my community and state.”
With plans to graduate in the fall of 2021, then walk in spring of 2022, Tackett has a heart for service and chose to major in organizational leadership at Wittenberg in memory of her daughter Morgan, who battled epilepsy and depression for years before eventually taking her own life shortly after graduating from Springfield’s STEM Academy in June 2019.
“Morgan’s story is being written into a book to be released next summer, and we continue to receive many messages from people who didn’t know her, but relate to her story or live inspired by her spirit,” said Tackett, who now advocates for epilepsy research and suicide awareness through multiple organizations, including the Epilepsy Foundation and the Christina and Ryan Day Foundation with Nationwide Children’s Hospital Mental Health movement. “Morgan will continue to inspire us day in and day out with everything we do.”
Like her mom, Morgan was talented in art and had a full ride to attend the Columbus School of Art and Design. They would have started college together.
“It was very hard to return to school after all of these years to be around kids Morgan’s age and knowing she should be here with me,” said Tackett, who made the Dean’s List last fall and is currently enrolled in honors classes. “While it’s difficult, I am thankful for the professors who are my age and get it. They have been so supportive and continue to remind me why I’m here and that I can do great things. I have already been inspired by so many professors and students here.”
Tackett worked for several years in corporate and nonprofit marketing before starting Sip & Dipity in 2014 at 10 N. Fountain Ave., adjacent to the Bushnell Building. After attending a Sip & Paint in Cincinnati, she decided to revisit her love of art and bring something new to the Springfield community.
“We had nothing like this in Springfield,” she said. “It became my serendipity -- a place you can leave your problems at the door and get lost in a painting or an art project. I think as life goes on, and as we grow into adulthood, we sometimes get lost in the heaviness of responsibilities and bury our creativity. I try to inspire people to find it again.”
Currently the oldest business on her block at six years, Sip & Dipity is a unique place to create art -- everything from canvas painting with instruction, to glass, wood crafts, chunky-blanket making, and wreath-creating.
While COVID has disrupted in-person gatherings, Tackett has come up with other ideas to keep her business flourishing. She hired students to sell fresh-cut flowers in the three-wheeled bicycle Painted Petals Flower Cart, cruising around downtown, ringing a bell, and adding beauty to the community. She also started giant birthday cake yard rental signs, T-shirt printing called Sip & Dipitees located in the Heritage Center, Zoom paint parties, art supply rentals, and paint L!ve events.
“As an entrepreneur, you develop an idea out of something you’re passionate about that fills a need in your community,” she added. “We needed something like this in our county. We needed more to do. That’s what we are: a party, not a class. We like to take the pressure off perfection and remind you that art is perfectly imperfect. No judgement. No right or wrong.”
-Photo by local photographer Mark Stephenson