We had the good fortune of connecting with Cara Franke and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cara, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I opened the studio when my son was six months old. I wanted a more flexible schedule to be home with him while also doing something I love. I guess you could say I grew two babies.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Our studio provides art instruction to children and adults. We weave the creative process into fine art practice and really put the fun in the fundamentals of visual art. There’s no cookie cutter art here as we encourage students to find their artistic voice and make their creative mark. I am most proud of our ability to pivot during Covid, and it’s in part to our implemented use of Zoom classes for the past three years. What began on a whim when a student moved out of state, slowly grew, and when we had to close our doors last year, we were able to seamlessly transition all students to Zoom. The beauty is that it has continued to grow, allowing our reach to expand; providing art opportunities to others who might never have the chance to visit us in the studio now that we’re back open. We really try to replicate what we do in the studio for those on Zoom. We have some new technology plans in the works to further bridge the Zoomers with the in-studio peeps, and we can’t wait!
None of this process has been easy, and anyone who tells you different is a big ol’ liar, IMO. It has taken me nine years to grow a team with countless late nights and early mornings. The biggest challenge by far is learning to take a step back, and I’m doing that in ways. Having a solid teaching staff who aligns with the values of the studio has been critical. I have learned to say no, to meet clients where they’re at, and when to really dig deep on a vision knowing it might flop. It’s really all about the process.
I want students to experience the joy of making art while also learning something really cool without realizing they’re learning. I want clients to feel safe and comfortable, be it online or in our studio, to freely create to their heart’s content.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This is a tough question to answer amid a pandemic with business shuttered. I hope some of my fave stomping grounds are still around! My friend MUST visit during the second weekend of the month so we could stroll the Rose Bowl Flea Market. We’d then grab some chili fries and a pastrami sandwich with mustard and pickles at one of my fave childhood restaurants, The Hat (specifically the Alhambra location). For day two of our hangout, we’d have lunch at Nyala, an Ethiopian restaurant in Los Angeles. It’s a stone’s throw from Craft Contemporary, my fave museum in Los Angeles, so we’d have to head there next and see the latest exhibition. Then we’d stroll across the street to walk under Levitated Mass at LACMA. Good coffee and the beach are a must, as well! My fave beach since being a mom to an almost-nine year old is Leo Carillo, and it never disappoints. I recently discovered the cottage baker, Malibu Baking Project. So putting in an order ahead of time for bagels and cookies to bring to the beach with a coffee from Urth or Intelligentsia is required for when the fog rolls in.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The building and growth of this studio has been a true labor of love. If not for our families, we wouldn’t still be here. It’s incredibly hard to choose one person but if I did it would have to be Tiffany Winslow who has cheered me year after year while reminding me of the progress I’ve made. I joke and call her my memory but it’s true. When that doubt starts to set in, she offers reminders and reflections of where I’ve been.
Yelp: The Arterie
Angel Sheree Photography