It took the community of Homer to shape Clinton Edminster into the entrepreneur and nonprofit director he is now at age 25.
In January, Edminster received the Generation NEXT Savannah’s Rising Stars of Business award, an accolade which he credits to his Homer upbringing.
“I really miss Homer. I’m so glad that I grew up there. I think so much of what I do here, in the world and in reality in general, is shaped so heavily by the people that I met and the things I learned and the supportive environment around me. I would not be doing what I’m doing if I had grown up somewhere else,” Edminster said. “I’m incredibly lucky. The environment I grew up is what I try to engender no matter where I am.”
Edminster lived in Homer until he was 17, when he moved to Idyllwild, Calif., to attend the Idyllwild Arts Academy. Before and after his move, Edminster could be seen engaging in a wide variety of endeavors around town.
As a middle schooler, Edminster and his teammates won first place in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s second annual Quest Film Festival Classic Movie Film Challenge. That same year, he also won the youth division for the Piece the Fleece art contest and could be seen walking around town giving impromptu performances as Miz Talula Lee May from the Jim Morrision monologue, “Talula the Baptist Chef.”
Throughout his high school years, Edminster continued dramatic pursuits, placing in Drama, Debate and Forensics competitions for categories such as pantomime, expository speaking and foreign extemporaneous speaking. His film “Bathroom Bash,” also won the Audience Choice Award at the Homer International Film Festival for Children in 2007.
After finishing his high school education at Idyllwild, Edminster moved to Savannah, Ga., to attend the Savannah College of Art and Design as an animation major. However, his involvement in the Homer art scene did not end there.
In December of 2009, a 19-year-old Edminster debuted his film “The Contract: An Allegory of Love and Respect” at the Homer Theatre. The entire film, which Edminster wrote and directed, was shot in Homer and focused on a botched murder contract that a girl puts out on her father.
Edminster also came home on school breaks and worked in summer theater productions with Pier One Theater, acting as stage manager for a 2010 production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch and set designer for the 2011 production of Shakespeare’s Tempest.
Edminster named several people in Homer who encouraged and challenged him to become a better artist throughout his youth — Jill Berryman, Sean Campbell, Lyn Maslow and Dan Westerburg.
However, he said, his parents Mark and Mary Edminster provided a strong foundation by teaching him the value of hard work. Mark and Mary still live in Homer, where Mary works at Homer Electric Association and Mark is a self-employed commercial fisherman.
“They supported me in a really neat way,” Edminster said. “The biggest gift was the work ethic that I have yet to see matched by anyone else yet.”
Edminster’s involvement in the Savannah art scene is proof of that work ethic. He is the executive director of the non-profit organization Art Rise Savannah and runs a new and used art supply shop called Starlandia, which he opened in 2015.
Art Rise runs the online art and culture journal Savannah Art Informer, the 750-square-foot Non-Fiction Gallery, and coordinates the First Friday Art March. Art Rise also works on art advocacy and makes sure art is always part of the value of Savannah.
Edminster had the realization that he could start Starlandia about a year ago.
“I woke up in the middle of the night and I realized that not only was this a good idea, but the math started working out. It was just me lying in bed doing some simple arithmetic about it,” Edminster said. “I woke up and I went to Foxy Loxy, a coffee-shop I used to work at, got a cappuccino and started doing the math for real. By the end of the day I realized I had to do it.”
Starlandia is a place to trade in and sell art supplies, purchase new supplies and participate in art workshops and kids activities. The store also provides inexpensive printing for local bands and other venues and sometimes hosts music.
The need for a used art supply shop was based on the reality that local art students had a lot of partially used supplies that ended up in the trash. Starlandia’s model is a locally driven business that prevents waste.
“There are only two art stores and they are very corporate. There’s a pipeline that I was equally involved in that you buy art supplies and use 10 percent of them and then throw them away because you don’t need them anymore,” Edminster said. “So, what does that leave? It leaves a huge opportunity for all these art supplies to go somewhere else. Starlandia interrupts the cycle from the factory to the trash can.”
Though his business stops trash from piling up out of useable supplies, Edminster said his intention is not to have a green business but a sustainable one.
Anna Frost can be reached at email@example.com.