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Sara and Lee Busick went from MSU art students to creative entrepreneurs

Sara and Lee BusickConsidering that Sara (Class of 2003) and Lee Busick (Class of 2003) are owner-designers of Made to Remember design company, it seems fitting what initially brought the two of them together was a design.  

“We met at college freshman orientation thanks to a T-shirt. Lee had his Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts T-shirt on, and I immediately recognized him,” Sara said, adding that the two attended the Governor’s School of the Arts in high school in 1998. “We went on our first date two days later.”   

At Made to Remember, the Busicks put their artistic touch on items like T-shirts, postcards and art prints that tend to have a warm, rustic aesthetic and express their passion for nature and Kentucky’s culture and history. These can come in the form of a quilt pattern on a shirt or a print featuring quotes on the Bluegrass State from the likes of author Ralph Waldo Emerson or President Abraham Lincoln.  

Before they created and ran their own business, Sara and Lee came together and found their artistic potential at MSU.  

Before deciding to attend college to study art, Sara and Lee both expressed interest in the creative arts. 

“I showed an early interest in drawing and was encouraged by my parents, grandparents and multiple teachers to develop this skill,” Lee said. “Over time, my creative interests expanded, but I never lost sight of my goal to one day become a professional artist.”  

“My love for creativity spanned visual art, music, drama, interior design, architecture – you name it,” Sara added.   

They met at a private liberal arts college but wanted a more extensive college experience, so they transferred to MSU. Their decision was based on scholarships, art programs, school size and opportunities. 

Both Sara and Lee would eventually go on to major in art. Sara earned a Bachelor of Arts in Art with a concentration in photography and a minor in business administration. Lee graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Art with a concentration in graphic design.  

On the way to graduating together in 2003, Sara said she felt like she and Lee were able to thrive because of the inspiring community of artists.  

“The after-hours environment of Claypool-Young Art Building was particularly vibrant,” the couple said, noting they took in many sunrises through the building’s windows. “Amid music and laughter, you could always find another student willing to offer feedback and encouragement. It’s been a pleasure watching so many from our cohort excel in various creative fields over the past two decades.”  

Their fellow MSU art students made them feel encouraged. Sara said the faculty they encountered had the most significant positive impact.  

“Our classroom experiences were great, but after 19 years, we mostly remember the faculty and staff that went beyond their teaching responsibilities and invested in us as mentors and advocates,” they said.  

While Sara and Lee were MSU students, they were doing work as artists that would lay the groundwork for their future business together. Sara was doing freelance photography while Lee was doing portrait commissions, murals and taking his first paid graphic design projects. Shortly after marrying in 2003, the two decided to collaborate and take on projects together.   

“By combining our skills, we could offer potential clients a greater range of creative services. This set the stage for how we would end up working together later in our careers,” Sara said.  

Sara and Lee lived in Ohio and Indiana after college. During that time, they furthered their education, with Sara earning a Master of Arts in Cultural Policy and Arts Administration from The Ohio State University and Lee earning a Master of Fine Arts (Printmaking) from Indiana University. While pursuing collegiate teaching and developing multiple nonprofit programs for teenagers, they remained committed to their goal of building a business together.  

After returning to Kentucky and moving to Midway in 2015, the couple adopted the name 15 United, an homage to Kentucky being the 15th state and a nod to a unified approach. This eventually led to the launch of Made to Remember in December 2020 and a catalog of products in their online store and retail partnerships with the Kentucky Artisan Center, the Speed Art Museum and the Kentucky Historical Society. Made to Remember also garnered award recognition for its work, receiving a 2018 Addy Silver Award in Sales Promotion (Creative Direction & Photography) for their restaurant menu design for acclaimed chef and restauranteur Ouita Michel’s Honeywood restaurant in Lexington.  

“Since we started working together, we have always been most passionate about print-based design, so Made to Remember, our product-based business, has allowed us to fully channel our love for various printing processes,” the couple said. “We are both interested in bringing ideas to life. Whether developing our products or working with clients, we find great satisfaction in identifying a problem and creating a beautiful and thoughtful solution.”  

Sara and Lee continue to grow their business with authenticity, passion and purpose. The couple said their MSU experience played a huge part in their development as artists and business owners.  

“Our liberal arts education prepared us to explore possibilities and not be intimidated by them. It taught us the value of constantly learning and growing,” they said. “Our degrees in studio art helped us see that a good idea is never enough – you must be committed to executing the idea. Creative work can sometimes feel relentless, but there is nothing more satisfying than bringing an idea to life.”  

To learn about 15 United and Made to Remember, visit www.madetoremember.co.  

For more information about programs in Art and Design, please visit www.moreheadstate.edu/art, email arde@moreheadstate.edu or call 606-783-2766. 

College can change lives and communities. Higher educational attainment increases tax revenue, decreases unemployment and even improves health outcomes. Learn more from the KY Council on Postsecondary Education at kyhigheredmatters.org.