Yayoi Kusama Inspired Obliteration Room

Yayoi Kusama Inspired "Dot House" aka Obliteration RoomIt’s International Dot Day! We’re celebrating by finally sharing our Yayoi Kusama inspired Obliteration Room.  We spent weeks filling our “Dot House,” as it was affectionately called, with dots on dots.  Kids and adults of all ages came to the studio each week and left their mark and we couldn’t have been happier with the experience.  Thank you Yayoi Kusama!

Yayoi Kusama Inspired "Dot House" aka Obliteration RoomYayoi Kusama and her story served as great inspiration for everyone who learned about her.  I can see why her work resonates with so many people all over the world.  When I saw pictures of her first Obliteration Room I knew we could create a mini version for the studio.  I had a simple wood house built that could fold for storage.  We painted it white and pretty much the kids took over from there.

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Yayoi Kusama Inspired "Dot House" aka Obliteration RoomWe had a ton of precut felt circles on hand, in addition to tubs of glue and a table for making our our own dots.  Kids could paint them, draw on them, add stickers, you name it.  If it was a dot, it was free to go on our dot house.  We kept the  tubs of glue and brushes right inside the house so it was easy access at all times.

Yayoi Kusama Inspired "Dot House" aka Obliteration RoomI think the most magical part of the house is how collaborative the whole experience was.  From toddlers, to mamas, to grandparents, everyone could get involved. Those are always my favorite art experiences and I sense that Yayoi might have had that in mind when she created the original Obliteration Room.  Such an inspiration.

Yayoi Kusama Inspired "Dot House" aka Obliteration RoomIf you want to try something like this I definitely recommend it.  You could of course go smaller and find a big cardboard box to dot.   And if you want to learn more about Yayoi Kusama I highly recommend these two books.  The first one is great for kids and shares Yayoi’s journey as an artist.  The second one has fantastic photos of Yayoi’s work.  It’s really exciting to see the Obliteration Room unfold.

From Here to Infinity

Give Me Love

Yayoi Kusama Inspired "Dot House" aka Obliteration RoomYayoi Kusama Inspired "Dot House" aka Obliteration RoomYayoi Kusama Inspired "Dot House" aka Obliteration RoomWe tried to extend the magic of the dot house as much as possible.  We hung cd’s on beads and added some pom pom garlands.  I think we kept it going for about two months and if we had the space, we would have kept it out longer. Right now the house is taking a hiatus and I hope to bring it back to life again soon.

Yayoi Kusama Inspired "Dot House" aka Obliteration RoomYayoi Kusama Inspired "Dot House" aka Obliteration RoomIn the meantime, thank you to all the friends that helped create and be a part of this magical space.  I hope you enjoy these photos.

Yayoi Kusama Inspired "Dot House" aka Obliteration RoomYayoi Kusama Inspired "Dot House" aka Obliteration RoomYayoi Kusama Inspired "Dot House" aka Obliteration RoomIf you decide to build your own Yayoi Kusama inspired “Dot House,” please tag us at mericherryla on Instagram.  We’d love to see and hear about your experience. And definitely check out Yayoi Kusama’s feed.  She is 89 years old and still as creative as ever.  Maybe even more so.  What an inspiration.  You’re never too young or too old to get creative.

Polka Dots are fabulous – Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama Inspired "Dot House" aka Obliteration Room Kusama Inspired "Dot House" aka Obliteration RoomYayoi Kusama Inspired "Dot House" aka Obliteration RoomYayoi Kusama Inspired "Dot House" aka Obliteration Room

Yayoi Kusama Inspired "Dot House" aka Obliteration RoomYayoi Kusama Inspired "Dot House" aka Obliteration Room

Handmade Trophies for Someone Special

Make your own trophies for someone specialOh my goodness.  I could not be more in love with these handmade trophies for someone special. We first made Father’s Day Trophies with a fantastic craft kit by Kid Made Modern that I highly recommend, especially if you want to keep all your crafts contained in one spot.  Then, we went a little next level with our 3-5 year old Process Art classes and let me just say, wow, yes please, and oh no you ditn’t?!

Make your own trophies for someone specialPretty much every trophy came out so amazing we had to take five million pictures and all the moms had to take a million more and then we all melted all over the studio.  It was just too good.  I think it’s the handmade notes on these that just go straight to the heart.  We actually add quotes from the kids as much as we can to their art.  That’s the stuff we want to look back on right?  Read those little innocent, unedited thoughts, and gush about how sweet our kids were once upon a time?

Make your own trophies for someone specialJust look at this little happy face! I could just eat her up.  The whole process for handmade trophies is great and you really can’t go wrong.  I’ll do a quick walk threw below and don’t forget to click over to this post to see another super cool handmade trophy for Father’s Day.

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You’ll Need…

thick watercolor paper

oil pastels

liquid or regular watercolors

white glue (we put ours in a recycled container with a brush)

lots of cut up bits to add for decor (cut up pipe cleaners and straws, gems, sequins, felt and shiny paper)

a little piece of watercolor paper to write your note in marker

Make your own trophies for someone specialMake your own trophies for someone specialSteps

1. Talk with your child about someone special they’d love to give a trophy too.  Handmade Trophies are great for end of the year gifts, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparent’s Day or any time you want to tell someone they rule.

2. Cut out a simple trophy shape from a piece of watercolor paper. Here’s a little trick.  Fold a piece of watercolor paper in half the long way.  Draw half the trophy along side the seem of the folded paper.  Cut out your design while the paper is folded.  Open it up and you will have a symmetrical trophy.  You’ll have to use an exacto knife for the little holes inside the handles, or puncture with a scissor and cut out the holes.  Hope that helps!

Make your own trophies for someone special3. Invite your child to make all kinds of details and pictures and designs with the oil pastels.  When they are finished, bring out the watercolors.  If you’re a long time follower, you know, I never put all the materials out at once.  If you see that in a picture it’s because it’s at the tail end of a process.  We go step by step, material by material.

4. Begin to bring out different embellishments to add to their trophy and make it extra special.  This is the really fun part where they can infuse the trophy with love and detail.

Make your own trophies for someone special5. Lastly, you’re going to get out that little white rectangle of paper and write down a message for that special someone and glue it on your trophy.

6. Let everything dry thoroughly and you’re ready to make someone’s day.

Make your own trophies for someone specialThe handmade trophy below was made by gluing pasta onto cut out cardboard and then spray painting gold.  This is a great one for a toddler (minus the spray painting part.)

Make your own trophies for someone specialEach one of these trophies is sweeter than the next.  I want someone to make me a trophy! Maybe I’ll make myself a gigantic trophy made out of all of my favorite things.  Is that weird?

Make your own trophies for someone specialHowever you do this, have a great time and please tag me on instagram at @mericherryla I’d love to see your trophy!

Make your own trophies for someone specialThanks for reading along.  Happy almost summer. xo, Meri

Make your own trophies for someone special

Father’s Day Trophies

Great Art Project for Father's Day - Father's Day Trophies!I know we’re just getting over the emotional throws of Mother’s Day, (or is that just me?) so it may be hard to start thinking about a Father’s Day Art Project at the moment, but it’s just a few weeks away.  I want you to be prepared, especially if you have a magical unicorn husband or partner like I do.  Not to make you barf or anything, but I kind of scored the best husband on the planet, so I’m super psyched that we are soooo prepared for Father’s Day this year with these amazing Father’s Day Trophies.  How cute are these?!

Great Art Project for Father's Day - Father's Day Trophies! * This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for your support.

When my kids were babies I saw a pic of a Father’s Day Trophy that was just the cutest. I tucked the idea away for when my girls were a bit older. (About five years)  When this insanely awesome craft box from Kid Made Modern arrived in the mail, a flash of that trophy came back in my mind and I knew we would have so much fun doing our own rendition.

Great Art Project for Father's Day - Father's Day Trophies! I set up a ton of Invitations to Create for my girls.  An invitation is basically a simple set up of an art or play activity you prepare ahead of time for your children, to encourage fun and creativity. I often include little signs with my invitations because it takes “mom” out of the equation.  My girls are often a lot more apt to listen to a sign then their mama. Go figure.

Great Art Project for Father's Day - Father's Day Trophies! So for this Invitation to Create I made a two second little sign, put out two placemats on the kitchen table, and opened up this magical craft library. All the supplies, I mean ALL THE SUPPLIES, are right in the craft library, so you don’t need to have anything else.  Look at how cute those little baggies of materials are.  I loved opening them, anticipating the crafty surprise inside.

Great Art Project for Father's Day - Father's Day Trophies! When my girls woke up in the morning, they had a super fun and meaningful invitation waiting for them and they loved it.

Here’s what you you’ll need.

You’ll Need…

a biggish piece of cardboard

an exacto knife

black paint

the Kid Made Modern Arts and Crafts Library

The Steps

1. Draw a simple trophy shape on a piece of cardboard and cut it out using an exacto knife. You can use a scissor too but it takes a lot of hand muscles.  This part is for an adult. Paint the trophy black if you want.  I really was into the contrast of the black and all the great materials in the craft kit. Let the paint dry and set it out for your child on top of a mat or tablecloth or tray. You don’t want a gluey mess all over your table.

Great Art Project for Father's Day - Father's Day Trophies! 2. Your work is pretty much done at this point unless you want to make your own trophy for your dad/friend/partner, which I most certainly did.  Can you tell which one is mine?  I had so much fun making it, I didn’t want to stop.

Great Art Project for Father's Day - Father's Day Trophies! My girls were way into it too.  The felt in the kit is really fun to cut.  I helped my older daughter cut out some letters for her trophy so it could say “Best Dad.”

Great Art Project for Father's Day - Father's Day Trophies! My younger daughter was all about gluing on the pom moms.  You could definitely bust out the glue gun for some of the materials for a faster drying time.  We stuck with the white glue with the exception of the pipe cleaners.  They were easier with the glue gun.

Great Art Project for Father's Day - Father's Day Trophies! I think that’s pretty much it.  I’ve been saving ours in a little hideaway for Father’s Day. I know my girls are going to feel so proud giving these to their number one daddy.

Great Art Project for Father's Day - Father's Day Trophies! If you are looking for more Father’s Day Art Projects, take a look at these Father’s Day resist pillows. They are a favorite of ours.

Thanks for reading along and Happy Father’s Day! xo, Meri

Great Art Project for Father's Day - Father's Day Trophies!

 

*This post is sponsored by Kid Made Modern. All opinions are my own.

Paper Mache Cactus Plants

how to make a cactus with kidsHoly cactus love.  I am going nuts over these amazing paper mache cactus plants that Olivia made with our private home classes this month. These 6 year olds totally rocked it and now I want to use cement for every project ever.

how to make a cactus with kids*This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for your support.

We’ve done paper mache with kids many times over the years, like these paper mache bananas, and what we’ve learned is that it’s best to prepare kids for the slimy aspect of the paper mache mixture ahead of time or you’ll totally lose your crowd so to speak.  Some kids like the slimy consistency of paper mache and some kids don’t.  I always explain that upfront to the kids and then they can decide for themselves while their doing it, leading to a way more open minded experience. Our paper mache mixture is flour and water.  Occasionally I’ll add a little glue but it’s really not necessary.  I find that the kids like it less when it’s gloppy so we go a little heavy on the water.

how to make a cactus with kidsYou’ll Need…

paper mache paste (newspaper, flour and water and a big mixing bowl and spoon)

masking tape

tempera paint, toothpicks, white acrylic paint

concrete mixture and something to pour the cement into to form a shape.  we used a recycled container.

how to make a cactus with kidsSteps

1. First step is to create the cactus shape.  We shared pics of cacti with the kids in class and practiced drawing them before starting the paper mache process.  I love adding observational drawing into our projects.  After drawing, the kids rolled and shaped pieces of newspaper and used masking tape to keep the rolls together and in their shape.  This part may need some adult help. It’s fine to add as much masking tape as you need.

how to make a paper mache cactus plant2. Once you have the cactus shape it’s time to paper mache. Dip about one inch by 5 inch strands of newspaper into the paper mache mixture and use your fingers like a scissor to get the excess mixture off.  I go into the mixture and share more pics of the paper mache process here. Like I said earlier, some kids love this and some kids are done after about 5 strands. We just jump in and help the kids that are sensitive to it.  Wrap the strands around and around the cactus shape, making sure there is a nice coat of paper mache strips all around your shape. This is a messy process so be prepared.  You may want to suggest smocks or art clothes only. 3 layers is ideal but hey, these are only about a layer and a half and they look pretty darn amazing so just go with it.

how to make a paper mache cactus plant3. Let your paper mached cactus shapes dry overnight.  It’s ideal to dry them in the sun.  If you set them in a damp spot they make take a while to dry and could start to get a little moldy.

4. When your paper mache cactus is totally dry, invite the kids to stick in some toothpicks for thorns all around the shape and paint it with your favorite tempera colors. Let dry. If you want the kids can mix their own paints.  See the full paint mixing with kids tutorial here.)

how to make a cactus with kids5. The last step is to create a concrete mixture using concrete mix and water.  This part is best done by an adult.  Once you have your mixture by following the directions on the bag, pour it into a large enough container so that you can sit your cactus into the mixture without it falling over.  The sides of the container can hold the cactus in place.  We used old corn starch and baking soda containers found at Smart and Final.  Let the cactuses sit overnight until the concrete is completely dry. Remove gently from the containers. *Note* Add a little olive oil or vaseline to the inside of the container with a paper towel so the concrete slips right out.

how to make a cactus with kids6. The very last step and my personal favorite, is to invite your child to dip their cactus into a bowl of paint.  Make sure the paint is high enough to cover the desired amount of the concrete. We went with white to make these really pop and the results are just fab. Sit them on a piece of cardboard or paper and let dry and then you’re done.

how to make a cactus with kidsClearly we need to start experimenting more with concrete because these are the coolest cacti ever. The kids were so proud and their parents were super pleased with these amazing results.  Win win!

how to make a cactus with kidshow to make a cactus with kidsIf you make a paper mache cactus pant please tag me on Instagram @mericherryla.  I’d love to see! Thanks for following along! xo, Meri

how to make a cactus with kids

The Artist’s Way

Trip to The Broad MuseumI started Julia Cameron’s 12 week program, The Artist’s Way, about 8 weeks ago.  It’s my third time in the past 9 years doing the program.  I first learned about the Artist’s Way from my cousin Erica Reitman about 20 years ago when we both moved to California.  My cousin was doing it with a local group and I saw something shift in her that was truly remarkable.  A friend of mine recommended it many years later, several months before I got married, in 2010.

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Trip to The Broad MuseumI decided to give The Artist’s Way a go and within days I was completely hooked.  If you’re not familiar with the program, it’s a 12 week program all described in a book that Julia Cameron wrote over 20 years ago and has sold millions of copies all over the world.  The basis of the program is to write morning pages (3 pages of free consciousness writing every morning,) artist dates once a week and simple tasks separated by weeks that coincide with a theme.

You can purchase the book here

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

Trip to The Broad MuseumI have done many self help workshops over the years and read a ton of books.  I am a firm believer in doing “the work,” whatever that looks like, to live our best lives. Of all the things I’ve ever done, nothing has been quite as effective and life changing as The Artist’s Way.  It is the reason I started blogging over 8 years ago.  The idea came to me in my morning pages and thankfully, I listened.

Trip to The Broad MuseumThere is something truly therapeutic and downright magical about writing morning pages.  Ev, my husband, calls them my magic pages.  Whenever we want something to happen, I write about it our my morning pages and before we know it, there it is.  Now, of course I don’t mean I just sit around waiting for things to happen.  If you know me or follow my work, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I am always working on something.  Having said that, there is definitely this sort of synchronistic force that exists when you put your heart on the page and just let things flow from their.

Now, 9 years or so later after my first Artist’s Way, and about 4 years after my second, I am so thrilled to be doing it yet again.  I’m about 8 weeks in, though just starting chapter 6.  I’m doing it with three girlfriends and we allow ourselves some extra time here and there when we’re behind on a chapter.  I have to say, I’m not as diligent on the tasks and artists dates as the morning pages, but I’m working on it.  The morning pages are a non negotiable.  I haven’t missed a day in 8 weeks.  They have become so important in my daily grounding that the idea of not doing them is really uncomfortable.  The artist dates are interesting…

Trip to The Broad MuseumThe idea of the artist dates are to do one thing each week just for you that you might love.  So an example might be going for a hike, taking a pottery class, or visiting a museum.  Can you guess where these pics are from? My most recent artist date was a trip with my new camera to The Broad.

Trip to The Broad MuseumOther dates I’ve taken have been to Soulcycle, a long walk around a new neighborhood, the movies to see Amy Schumer’s “I feel Pretty,” twice, hanging in Culver City/the beach for the day and a pottery class. I find that doing the artist dates lifts my spirits more than anything, yet I struggle with planning them and making them a priority.  What’s with that?  Maybe if I say them here I will make them more of a commitment.  I’d like to go on a hike, visit LACMA with my camera, go to Santa Barbara for a day, take an art class, and do an overnight with my fam to Portland.  Not sure if the family one counts but I really want to do it so I guess it does.

If you haven’t been to The Broad, I highly recommend it.  Here’s to treating ourselves to the things that lift our spirits.  xo, Meri

Trip to The Broad Museum

Spring Art Project for 3-5 Year Olds

Mother's Day Art Project - 3-5 year oldsHappy almost Mother’s Day! I wanted to get this out just under the wire in case you wanted to try super sweet idea Eryn put together for our 3-5 year old classes, for a special Mother’s Day gift or teacher gift or someone special gift.  These little planters are the perfect spring art project for 3-5 year olds. Best of all they are so much fun to make.

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Spring Art Project 3-5 year oldsThis was a two part project.  You’ll need to allow for the planters to dry.  There is also no wrong or right way to make these spring planters. What I love about the process we used is that it is jam packed with process several experiences that kids will love and feel great success with.

You’ll need…

little (or big) terra-cotta planters

droppers or pipettes

tempera paint

sticks and yarn

play dough (here’s my favorite recipe), air dry clay and feathers

little rocks (optional) and small pieces of strong paper to write notes on.

Mother's Day Art Project - 3-5 year oldsSteps

1. Prepare tempera paint in your desired colors in little jars.  We always use baby jars.  Put a few squirts of paint inside and then add a little water.  Demonstrate how to squeeze drips of paint on the upside down planter in different colors.  Each paint jar should have it’s own dropper to keep the colors clean. Kids will love this! They can spend 30 minutes just on this step alone.

Mother's Day Art Project - 3-5 year olds2.  Once your planter is completely dry (after 24 hours) invite your child to wrap a couple of small sticks in their favorite yarn colors.  Wrap wrap wrap.  You can use a little glue gun spot at the end to hold down the yarn.

Mother's Day Art Project - 3-5 year olds3. Once you have your sticks you’re going to help your child create a little air dry clay birdie.  We separated ours into two parts, a bigger ball and a smaller ball.  Kids can attach the two and sort of pinch the smaller one to create a beak and then push in beads or buttons or sequins for the eyes.  Then stick in feathers for their wings.

Mother's Day Art Project - 3-5 year olds4. Next, we give the kids a big ball of play dough to play with and then push into their planter as the soil.  Then they plant their sticks by pushing them inside the planter and adding on the birdie.

5. Last steps are to add special notes and little rocks to the soil.  The little notes are a great opportunity for your child to sign their name and either write or dictate a special note to their loved one.  Punch a hole in the paper and tie it on the branches.  And they’re done!

These kids were so incredibly proud of themselves.  They just loved their little spring planters and so did their moms.

Mother's Day Art Project - 3-5 year oldsJust look at the love.

Mother's Day Art Project - 3-5 year oldsThat’s the kind of hug I want for Mother’s Day this year.

Spring Art Project 3-5 year oldsWishing you all a super happy Mother’s Day filled with hugs and appreciation. xo, Meri

birdplanters16

Spring Paper Flowers

Spring Paper FlowersWe made Spring Paper Flowers process art style and they are so stinkin’ cute I just want to plant them all over LA. Who’s with me?

Process Art Paper FlowersSpring Paper Flowers*This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for your support!

These 3-5 year olds worked on their spring paper flowers for two weeks.  Here’s what you’ll need and the how to.

You’ll need…

sturdy watercolor paper (we love Cansen brand)

liquid watercolors

oil pastels

tissue paper shapes

big sticks

yarn

glue, glue stick and duct tape

Process Art Paper FlowersSteps…

1. Introduce a flower and discuss the different parts with your child. Pre cut large petal shapes from watercolor paper, including circles, rectangles and ovals.  Put them on a tray and invite your child to choose petals to make their own flower.  We recommended choosing 10 flower parts per child.

Spring Paper Flowers

2. Demonstrate how to color each child with oil pastels and liquid watercolors.  We always talk about water and oil not being friends, so when the liquid watercolors are painted over the oil pastels the oil pastels say “hey, get off me, you’re not my friend.” The kids love it and they see how the water and oil do not mix.

3. When all the flower petals are painted, let them dry and then invite your child to arrange them into a flower.  You can glue them together or use a stapler to get all the petals in the desired design.

Spring Paper Flowers4.  Use your favorite color yarns to wrap your stick in yarn.  Start by tying one color to the end of the stick and then demonstrate to your child how to wrap around and around or twist the stick on the table so the yarn wraps around it.  This can be challenging at first for some children.  It’s a great challenge that requires important gross motor skills.  Encourage the kids to keep with it and they will get it in time. These kids were so proud of their yarn wrapped stems. We like to make little yarn bundles so the kids can easily choose one and get right to wrapping.

Spring Paper Flowers5. We saved all the flower parts and stem for one week and then at the next class we invited the kids to glue on more colorful details to make their flowers extra special.  We used cut paper and tissue paper shapes for our details.

6.  We also invited the kids to make their petals “dance” by cutting little tiny slits where desired.  We are always up for some scissor practice, especially knowing some schools don’t even allow cutting for 3 year olds : (  Be careful to just do little cuts so kids don’t end up with a tiny little flower.

Spring Paper Flowers7.  The last step was for an adult to hot glue gun the flowers onto the yarn wrapped stem and then reinforce with duct tape.  And there you go.  Spring Paper Flowers that make any garden super duper special.

Process Art Paper Flowers Spring Paper FlowersHow sweet are these paper flowers?  The kids were so proud.

Spring Paper FlowersIf you’re looking for more Spring ideas, here is a whole list of 30 Spring Art Activities to choose from.

Process Art Paper FlowersHappy Spring! xo, Meri

Spring Paper Flowers

Dollhouse Camp Handbook

How to Host Dollhouse Camp - Meri Cherry Art Studio HandbookCalling all Art Studio Dreamers and Art -Teacherpreneurials…

Hi, I’m Meri Cherry,

meri cherry

As a Process Art Teacher for almost two decades, I’ve had my share of successes and not-so-successful moments.

It’s taken me some serious trial and error, but after almost two years running my own super successful art studio in Los Angeles, and teaching 100’s of private art classes, enrichment courses and camps over the the past 20 years, I’ve come up with tried-and-true formulas for multi-day programs, camps, and classes that crush.

The Meri Cherry Art Studio Handbook – Dollhouse Camp

*NOTE* The Dollhouse Handbook is no longer available at this time. We are working hard behind the scenes preparing the future trajectory of Meri Cherry Art Studio Worldwide. While we figure things out and create a plan for serving our community for the highest good, please sign up for our exclusive newsletters below. 

I am a parent or caregiver who wants to do more Process Art with My Kids.

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I am a dreamer of all things art studio.  Maybe one day I’d even have one of my own. I’d love to be first to know about Meri Cherry Art Studios plans to expand and how I might be a part of the expansion.

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How to Host Dollhouse Camp - Meri Cherry Art Studio Handbook

Meri Cherry Art Studio is Hiring

We're hiringWe’re hiring and we’re so excited about it.  It means our business is growing and shifting and we are thrilled to add some amazing creative people to the MC Team.

I often hear fellow business owners say hiring is the biggest challenge they face.  I’d really like to create a different experience for us this time around. My intention is to make our hiring process a fairly quick and rewarding process, that unfolds with grace and ease.  How about that?!

How to open an art studio for kids - part 2The advice we’ve gotten for hiring the right person for the job is to get really clear on the job description first.  Other valuable advice has been to stop looking for a magical unicorn, someone who is a jack of all trades, works day and night, can teach, plan, do all the tech stuff, handle sales and marketing, etc. That person likely doesn’t exist and if they did they would probably be running their own business.  So, we’ve been told to get clear on the specifics of what we want and then share that in our business or personal community or a combination of both.

I wanted to write this in a post so other studio owners or women in business can share what’s worked for them in the comments below, perhaps gain some value from our experience, and most of all pass this onto the great people in their lives who might be the right fit for the following positions.  Woo hoo! Let’s do this!

Teachers Making a DifferenceWe are currently looking to fill two positions in the studio.

Lead Art Teacher

– A Lead Art Teacher at Meri Cherry Art Studio must have significant teaching experience with children ages 3 and up in a Reggio inspired environment or process based environment.  You must be very comfortable with Process Art and creating curriculum around Process Art that fits within the style and aesthetic of the Meri Cherry Art Studio.  As Lead Art Teacher you must be confident in your teaching abilities, be delightful and caring in nature, adept at creating lasting, heartfelt and authentic relationships with the children and families that visit the studio and very comfortable with effective “classroom” management that is in alignment with honoring each child and the creative process.  Lead teachers must be comfortable and happy to set up and clean up in the studio with joy and timeliness.  You must be friendly, a team player, hard working and responsible and also come to work with creative ideas and curriculum that benefit and uplift the studio as a whole.  This is a part time position that has a ton of opportunity for growth.

Birthday Party Manager

– Birthday Party Manager is a weekend position.  You must be available Saturday and Sunday from 9-6.  As Birthday Party Manager you are responsible for overseeing all birthday parties in the studio, including being the contact person on the day of with the birthday hosts, making sure the party flows with great energy and all needs are met for the families attending, clean up and set up, both prior, during and after each party, and oversee the birthday team that is working each party with kindness, caring and commrodery.  Our Birthday Party manager is committed to making sure each family that comes to the studio has a terrific experience and can’t wait to come back.

If you are looking for a full time position and have the skills for both of these opportunities, there is room to discuss a combination of both positions.

If either position sounds like a fit, please email info@mericherry.com with the position you are interested in in the subject line.  Please answer the following three questions and attach your resume to the email.

1.  Describe your teaching style in three to five adjectives.

2.  Tell us 1 or 2 of your best attributes for the job.

3.  Who is your favorite artist and why?

Thank you so much for your interest in joining the Meri Cherry Team.  We are really excited to hear from you and fill these positions with grace and ease for the highest good of our community.

 

How to Open an Art Studio for Kids – Part 2

How to open an art studio for kids - part 2I wrote a post called How to Open An Art Studio for Kids a few months ago and the response really surprised me.  It seemed to touch a tender spot for people who have been on a similar journey.  You can read the post here. It basically shares my 20 year adult journey towards opening an art studio.  Writing that post made me realize that there are also some concrete things I have learned about opening an art studio for kids that might be of value to you.  I hope my journey inspires you to go for your hopes and dreams in a way that feels right from your gut and that our experience helps along the way.

*Almost all these pics are by Neil Apodaca

How to open an art studio for kids - part 2 I opened Meri Cherry Art Studio for kids, almost two years ago.  We will celebrate our two year anniversary July 1.  It has been a whirlwind of setting goals, meeting them, setting more goals, learning, growing, on boarding, taking risks, making mistakes, learning from those mistakes and a whole lot more in between. In ways, I think our experience has been somewhat unusual for a new business, but in other ways we go through the same struggles and challenges almost all new businesses go through.  The unusual part is that I was blogging for 6 years prior, building my social media following and teaching in LA for over 15 years before I opened the studio.  Our journey did not just start when I opened the studio and our success did not happen in a vacuum. I think overnight success stories are an urban myth. I talk a lot about that in part 1 of how to open an art studio for kids.

I love to reflect on my journey and I hope that there are little or big golden nuggets you can glean from my experience so far here.  At times I am overwhelmed with gratitude by our early success and my intention is to continue to learn and grow and serve our community as we keep going.

Here are the Top 10 Things I’ve Learned from Opening an Art Studio for Kids so far…

1. It Takes a Village

This one is the biggest for me.  When I think of doing this on my own there is just no way.  I immediately go into panic.  Right out of the gate when we opened it was me and Olivia. Olivia had been working for me teaching at home classes when the demand got too big for just me. So when we opened Olivia was there to help me teach and get things going. Then came Eryn, our studio manager, in month 3 I think. I didn’t even know I was hiring until she walked through the door and all I could say was YES. It was the best thing I could have done because we were growing so fast.  Hiring Eryn was a lesson in trusting my gut.  I was scared at first to make the financial commitment but I knew I could handle it deep down. Now we are a team of 6.  2 full time, and 4 part time, and myself.  My role is way more behind the scenes now as I work on new projects that I hope will serve our larger community.  Our team runs the studio and I am forever grateful that I can help support and coexist with such incredible, capable and committed women.

How to open an art studio for kids - part 2 2. Go Slow and Create Systems

When things were moving so fast right out of the gate I think it was normal for us to talk about expanding.  People were approaching us weekly about a second studio or franchising and it was a lot to take in and hard not to get totally excited about.  Even though we have big dreams of Meri Cherry Art Studios in select cities all around the world, we are learning to take our time.  My husband, Ev, who is a big proponent of franchising, still reminds me, “We’re so young.  It’s only been a year/a year and half/ two years. We haven’t even seen what this studio can do yet.” It was hard for me to hear that in the beginning but it was great advice.  The studio continues to grow in ways I never imagined and setting up solid systems so it’s running like a well oiled machine has become our priority before talking about a second studio.

How to Open An Art Studio for Kids3. Family Support is Crucial

We moved homes, did a major remodel, and opened the art studio in a span of 5 months.  It was intense! My girls really struggled in the beginning.  Sharing their mama with 100’s of other kids in this new studio space wasn’t exactly on their wish list.  We had to do a lot of soul searching, communicating, reading, and therapy to make it through those first few months.  I learned how to talk to my girls about the studio and remind them that regardless of who I am helping, I always love them the most.  My little one clung to those words like a an amateur climber dangling from a cliff.  I was worried there for a minute.  But we made it through and now we have certain boundaries in place to keep the studio a happy place for everyone.  My girls stopped going to birthday parties at the studio, even if was a good friend. It was just too hard on them to share me. We took breaks from going at all in the beginning, just to keep it light.  Now we’re in a good way and my girls love coming for Open Studio and we occasionally do family days together there. In addition to the kids, I think it’s crucial to have buy in from your life partner.  I am blessed to have an incredibly supportive and business savvy husband who supports me every step of the way.  I couldn’t do this without him and I’d say that having Ev on board on this journey has been everything for me. We are a team and I can’t imagine doing half the things we have been able to accomplish without his support.

How to open an art studio for kids - part 2 4. Get Yourself a Good Lawyer

For me having a good lawyer is peace of mind.  Things come up when you have a business, sometimes scary things that can really put a wrench in your day to day anxiety level, especially if you’re prone to anxiety like I am.  Having the proper waivers, contracts, signage, etc. is a real part of doing business.  It’s definitely not the fun part, but having a support team here can make it way lighter and more manageable.  If you’re in LA, we use Vero Law Group.  What I really appreciate about this group is that you pay a monthly fee for all questions no matter what, rather than an hourly rate, which can be astronomical if there is something that needs attention.  All specific projects are additional, but I can email my attorney any time with a question and get a quick response and I love that. So yeah, lawyer up.

How to open an art studio for kids - part 2 5. Get a Place with Good Parking

I wish someone had made this more abundantly clear to me from the beginning.  I just didn’t really get it.  I knew I needed a place for people to park, but I thought “oh great, there are 3 spots here. That’s plenty.”  Yeah, no.  You need more than three spots to serve your community in this type of business.  We’ve gotten lucky and figured out some ways around it and we make it work, but my next venue will have killer parking. Believe that.

How to open an art studio for kids - part 2 6. Lead with Love

I am part of an incredible business group with Jadah Sellner, called Love Over Metrics.  Jadah also has a podcast called Lead with Love that I absolutely adore. I am learning so much from working with Jadah and listening to her podcast, and also working with the great women in the group with me. I can’t say I lead with love all the time yet, but I’m really working on Leading with Love in all areas of my life and business.  It’s easy to do with the kids in the studio, but there is so much more to running an art studio than working with the kids.  With so many real responsibilities, like rent, payroll, and making sure the bathroom is clean, it can be easy to get caught up on the endless list of todo’s.  Jadah is teaching me to Lead with Love, serve my community the best I can, take imperfect action and let go of the other stuff.

How to open an art studio for kids - part 2 7. Believe in What You Do

Meri Cherry Art Studio is a Process Based Art Studio for kids.  We are not a fine art studio.  We do not do directive draws on canvases where each child will leave with a perfect painting of the Eiffel Tower.  That can be really fun.  It’s just not who we are.  I had to get really comfortable with that fact, and encourage my team to get really comfortable with that, so that our community knows what to expect when they walk threw our doors.  As we’ve grown and more people are hearing about us, we’re learning that we have to get even more clear on our messaging to make sure we match expectations and attract the right fit for what we do.  Speaking our truth is like a muscle that gets stretched over and over again and I’m proud of the progress we’ve made and excited for us to get even more clear on our message and value system so we can better serve our community.

How to open an art studio for kids - part 2 8.  Be Prepared to Put on Your Big Girl Pants

Being a business owner is not for the faint of heart.  It is the real deal, with real responsibilities.  I have to make thousands of dollars every month just to make payroll.  Thousands. My brother has his own business and I would hear him talk about payroll responsibilities and just sort of think woah, that sucks.  Now, I think woah, this is amazing.  This is a real business that supports amazing women through a job they love.  I want to work even harder to support my team and show them how much I appreciate them and how much I believe in them.  Having said that, sometimes things change, and hiring the right fit can be a challenge.  At the end of the day, the buck stops with me and I’ve got to step up to the plate.  Eryn, our studio manager, went on maternity leave a month early this past year and we were not prepared. I had to work my butt off and not see my family pretty much at all for over a month and just make it work.  And you know what, we did and I’m a better business owner for it, but I’ll tell you, big girl pants were on.

How to open an art studio for kids - part 2 9.  You MUST be okay with Selling

This is a business.  You have to make sales or you won’t be in business.  I remember Bri Emery from DesignLoveFest saying something to the effect of you have to be ok with shouting your name from the rooftops because no one is going to do it for you.  I really took that to heart and started tooting my own horn. Be proud of what you offer and let people know about it.  It’s great.  Stand behind it and shout it from the rooftops.  And ask your friends to shout about it too.  I really learned this when I launched the Process Art Toolkit.  I was so proud of what I had put together, I wanted to shout about it. I still do.  I wanted to get it to every person I knew who was interested in Process Art.  If you do great work, you’re doing a mitzvah (a good deed) by sharing it.  The world needs Process Art and I am serving the world by putting it out there. That is something to shout about.

Teachers Making a Difference10. Listen to Feedback and Be Grateful

Not everything is going to be rainbows and unicorns. I remember getting a call from a home party we did about a year ago, saying the party itself was great, and everyone had a great time, but the mom was disappointed in the aesthetic presentation we provided.  Our bins didn’t match, our mats weren’t all the same, etc.  I was dying on the other end of the line, but you know what, they didn’t match, and she was right.  We had gone from backyard business, to serving the greater Los Angeles area and it was time to up our game.  You better believe I went to the store and picked out some fab table clothes and matching bowls.  That will not happen again.  I also thanked that mom from a very genuine place even though I was totally embarrassed in that moment. I am truly grateful for the feedback.  So yeah, listen to your customers, they have nuggets of gold too and there is always room to make things even better.

How to open an art studio for kids - part 2 Overall, at almost two years in, and seemingly lifetimes away from when I hustled from backyard to backyard doing what I loved in the pic above, I am truly inspired and grateful to have had this experience in my life. I am motivated to keep going and do my best every step of the way for the highest good.  Being an entrepreneur and business owner is not always an easy road but it is an exhilarating one, and I am more satisfied than I’ve ever been in my life. I am learning everyday by stepping out of my comfort zone, taking imperfect action and listening to my intuition (and Ev. I always listen to Ev.)

I hope this is helpful to you and I am so excited to share part 3 along my journey. xo, Meri