Amanda Bradway was told that she would never be able to support herself doing art.
The success of DNA Galleries, an art gallery and boutique located at the historic Plaza District that the 29-year-old Oklahoma native with owns with her husband Dylan, is evidence to the contrary.
Years ago, the current location of the gallery was also Bradway’s home. Both she and Dylan lived and worked in the area before it became known as DNA Galleries.
“We had always wanted a space to open a shop but couldn’t afford the overhead and didn’t want to take out large loans,” Bradway said.
The space allowed the couple to live and work on their art with little financial constraint. Eventually they separated living from work and turned the space into a fully functioning gallery, and started contacting local artists about showing work in their gallery.
Bradway said she likes attending art events and discovering talents in the local area. Bradway met Jayce Cogburn, a featured artist at the gallery, at an art festival in Norman. Like other featured artists, Cogburn was thankful for the opportunity.
“I was super pumped, because more and more people are getting to see my work and I keep receiving compliments,” Cogburn said.
Bradway emphasized that the gallery is not only about discovering great people but also about creating opportunities for them so they can develop locally.
“We are sick of seeing people leaving the state to pursue an art career,” Bradway said, “We want to promote local art, and make people realize that they can make art locally.”
The shop carries items such as graphic T-shirts and jewelry that are all locally designed and printed. Nearly 90 percent of all merchandise is handmade.
Most visitors are from the Oklahoma City area, although sometimes the gallery gets people from small towns in Oklahoma and surrounding states, Bradway said.
The owner of the gallery also is an artist in addition to being a successful business manager.
After she graduated from Edmond North High School, Bradway studied graphic art at the University of Central Oklahoma. Despite her family’s skepticism about the financial stability of those who pursue an art career, Bradway firmly believed that she could support herself with her crafts and artwork without having a full-time job. To her, art is more than just a hobby.