By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—In a sea of blue, black and gray-suited business people gathered for MetroSouth Chamber of Commerce’s 98th annual meeting and expo, standing out in a tie-die T-shirt and wearing pink, blue, green and white ribbons in her hair was face painter extraordinaire and artist Kara Andrews.
“You’re wonderful. Can I get your card. I’m thinking about my grandson’s birthday,” one woman said, as Andrews blew up a balloon and quick as a blink formed it into a bright red lady bug.
A once-and-former chemist, public school substitute art teacher and would-be anthropologist, Andrews gave up the corporate and usual paths of life to follow her lifelong dream and opened her own children’s fine arts studio, Art on the Spot Studio, in Middleboro.
Andrews, 40, an award-winning face painter, expanded the business to include body adornment, face painting, glitter tattoos, crazy hair and Henna--an endeavor that not only caught the eye of hundreds of expo attendees, but also Hollywood.
“I did the makeup for ‘Furry Vengeance’ with Brandon Fraser and Brooke Shields,” Andrews said.
While the movie wasn’t a world-wide sensation, Andrews' designs are.
She said it was fun working on a film and even having an on-screen role.
“There’s a two-second spot if you look really close where I play—what else? A face painter,” Andrews said.
(Andrews, pictured in top photo with MetroSouth's intern Irene Giannenakis, a Stoughton High School student, and in second photo with Alison Van Dam, MetroSouth's director of communications)
The business-to-business expo and annual meeting held at the Massasoit Community College Conference Center, Nov. 16 helped showcase Andrews’ artistic talents and the values and quality of hundreds of other businesses in the MetroSouth Chamber’s region.
The keynote speaker for the program was David Morales, vice-president of public policy and planning for Steward Health Care System, a private company that recently purchased the Catholic Church's Caritas hospitals, including Good Samaritan Medical Center, which opened a new, state-of-the-art emergency room last month.
Members mixed and mingled, including Mutual Bank Assistant Treasure Yashin Cerritos, Business and Banking Development Officer Chris Dickinson and West Branch Manager Aida Monteiro. (Pictured, bottom photo)
It was also a time for the chamber to recognize individuals and businesses that have contributed to the area’s business growth and community.
Christine Karavites from Proteas Consulting was this year's Charles A. Fuller Service Award winner. (Pictured below with Steward's Morales as she headed to the stage to accept her award)
Economic Impact Award winners are:
*Bernardi Auto Group, Brockton which opened a Honda and Hyundai showroom on the former Northern Isles site, investing $24 million into the project;
*Brockton Parking Authority, Brockton which has reconstructed the Lincoln Street parking lot, which now has solar-powered revenue controls and video surveillance. The project included the refurbishment of Church Street and new sidewalks in the area.
*The Charlie Horse, West Bridgewater which has renovated and expanded its longtime operations to include a new function room with 50-inch HD TV’s, a flagstone fireplace and a new state-of-the-art bowling alley;
*Coffman Realty—CVS, Brockton which received $2 million in Recovery Zone Facility Bonds for a $4 million project that replaced Paramount Rug with a new CVS pharmacy at West Street;
*Crescent Credit Union, Brockton which has moved its location from West Street to a new, modern branch at its headquarters at 1300 Belmont St. Crescent Credit Union is also the recipient of the Dora Maxwell Award for Social Responsibility;
*Good Samaritan Medical Center, Brockton which has gone from a non-profit hospital to a private facility after Steward Health Care System purchased the Caritas hospital network. The hospital last month opened its new state-of-the-art emergency room—a $34 million investment;
*Porter and Chester Institute, Canton which has been provided career training in New England since 1946. It features 40,450-square-foot building with new and updated equipment in all its classrooms and labs.
*Salvatore Capital Partners, Brockton, are the developers of Panera Bread’s new bakery and café on the West Side of Brockton, a $4 million project which included the addition of Eastern Bank, a Sprint store, and Massage Envy, all which complement Starbucks, Bertucci’s and other businesses in an adjacent plaza.
*Stonehill College—Merkert-Tracy Hall, Easton, has undergone a complete renovation from a science wing to an administration building that now houses the Advancement and Finance, and Human Resources Department. Built in 1949, the hall’s reconstruction was an investment of $6 million.
*Willwork, Inc., Exhibit & Event Services, Easton has reopened after a fire destroyed its facility at 23 Norfolk Ave., in the Easton Industrial Park. The new 40,000-square-foot building is double the original size and was designed by the company’s employees.