Janine Lafiteau is an artist and former art teacher who, with her husband Ted, opened Creative Me Art Studio in St. Johns last year. St. Johns Magazine wanted to learn a little more about this interesting and creative business where artists of every age and skill level may learn and grow.
Why did you start Creative Me Art Studio?
I wanted an opportunity to share my artistic talent and teaching the skills needed to allow both children and adults to discover their inner artist.
Who is involved in running the business?
Myself – Janine Lafiteau and my husband, Ted. I am responsible for creating and teaching the classes and workshop that we run here at the studio as well as running our Summer Art Camp and hosting a variety of birthday parties and events. Ted is responsible for administrative aspects of the business – such as: Marketing, Managing the books, Scheduling the monthly calendar, Managing the web-site and Coordinating visits made by outside groups.
What are some of the services you offer?
Art classes for children and adults including: Instructional Adult only classes on Tuesdays, Art education classes for home schooled children each Wednesday, Mommy & Me classes on Thursdays, Visiting group classes and Family Fun Nights on Fridays and Advanced art classes for tweens and teens on Saturdays. We also offer canvas painting events for adults (Wine & Canvas, Business Team Builders and Fund Raisers) and children (Cookies & Canvas) as well as Custom art themed birthday parties. We also just launched an after-school program held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. called, “Crafternoon Activities”. This gives kids an opportunity to do a different craft/art lesson every day.
What is your favorite part about owning your business?
Through the creation and building of Creative Me Art Studio, I have been able to bring a lifelong dream of having my own studio to fruition. Having an opportunity to share my passion for art with others and showing people that with a little instruction they can create amazing pieces of art. In addition, I really enjoy working with my husband as we make a really great team and have lots of fun each day.
Do you have a background in art?
I have been an artist from an early age. In college majored in Education with a minor in Art. Upon receiving my Bachelor’s Degree, I embarked upon a 19 year career as an elementary school teacher – 12 of those years were spent in the classroom teaching all grades between Kindergarten and 5th. The other 7 years were as the art teacher.
Who is your favorite artist and why?
Although there are many I like, Brazilian artist Romeo Britto is my very favorite. I love his use of thick black lines and vivid colors and patterns as well as a very unique style that always makes me happy.
What makes your business unique?
We offer a wide variety of classes, workshops and art related events for all ages from 3 to 93. We also offer customized birthday parties and we host an extremely flexible “Mom friendly” Summer Camp Program, wherein you can come day by day on a pay as you go basis, in comparison to other camps wherein you have to book for a minimum of a week and if you miss a day, you have to pay anyway. In addition, we integrate technology into our lessons. We employ the use of a document camera that basically digitally captures my lesson and broadcasts the images onto large flat panel T.V. sets mounted to the walls of the studio. Therefore, no matter where you’re seated in the studio, you have a close up view of the instructions…making it much easier to follow along.
What kinds of projects do people most like and why?
Our most popular step by step instructional classes are our acrylic painting on canvas. Kids love it because the can make instant wall art and adults love it because even though most of our customers are amateur artists, they’re very proud that they were able to create a masterpiece of their very own via step-by-step instructions.
What is a memorable experience related to your business?
One day we had a special needs child visit the studio for the first time. The lesson that day, was step-by-step canvas painting. Canvas painting, as you know, involves many steps to complete…which is difficult for any amateur artist. After an hour and a half of teaching this child, he and his parents were so proud of how he remained focused and completed a gorgeous piece of artwork. We were so happy to be part of this special moment.
What are some of your challenges?
Many of our customers have gotten to know us through their friends or family – which is wonderful – as word of mouth is our best endorsement. However, getting word out there of our existence to the community at large has been difficult as advertising takes up a large portion our limited budget.
What are your goals for the future?
To provide a wide variety of classes, workshops and art related events that would cater to every type of artist, at any age, within our surrounding community. We would love to be the go to place to allow your inner artist to bloom.
St. Johns Magazine