Today we’re thrilled to introduce you to Stephanie Pitts. Stephanie is an artist, entrepreneur and owner of artNEST and is also a content partner. Content partners help Voyage in so many ways from spreading the word about the work that we do, sponsoring our mission and collaborating with us on content like this. Check out our conversation with Stephanie below.
Hi Stephanie, please briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Stephanie Scianna Pitts and I am the owner and founder of artNEST Delray and artNEST Boca. artNEST is an art studio primarily for kids with options for adults as well to bring out their inner child. We provide an environment that allows everyone to be the most creative versions of themselves, naturally with no pressure or judgement. There is a good balance between traditional teaching and child lead learning. I wanted to have a place that would nurture intuitive talent where kids can discover and feel confident about the skill sets that they live within them. Kids are born creative, it is their superpower and we give them a space to unleash their innermost thoughts and ideas. There are no boundaries here…no mistakes, just pure creative freedom.
What was the idea behind artNEST and how did it evolve?
I was an art teacher for many years in Miami, FL teaching Emotionally Handicapped and Severely Emotionally Disturbed children Art. It was both beautiful and challenging but shaped my views about art and children’s lives in many ways. This was the seed that was planted early in my adult life that eventually culminated in my vision for artNEST. After teaching in the classroom, I moved on to other careers on the Operations end of Educational programming in the Arts. I always knew I wanted something of my own. Once I had my second child, I knew that was the time to bring something to life that incorporated my passions. I wanted my kids to be exposed to art and culture and have all the benefits that art provides to children. I also loved the idea of having them with me so I can spend maximum time with them!
I wanted My father, Cosimo, who is a retired filmmaker/photographer to be a part of this too. He is incredibly talented and I still have so much to learn from his brilliantly talented mind! We decided to open up a tiny studio where we both had a room in the back to create our own artwork and I would teach classes to pay the rent. Within a few months we were bursting at the seams. The support from the community was incredible and made us realize how high the demand was for the arts. We decided to take a leap into a bigger space and offer more classes and creative experiences and so we did! Once again, the community continued to grow so we opened up a second location in West Boca to serve that community as well.
How are you helping the community?
Being a mom in both of the communities that we serve keeps my finger on the pulse of what is going on. We partner with local charities and organizations in any way that we can to help build awareness. We also have a scholarship fund for kids that do not have access to the arts. Beyond giving back to organizations, I truly feel that any time anyone steps into our studio, we are giving a sense of community and belonging. We pride ourselves on providing a place that is stress-free…we take care of everything and the kids can literally do anything that they want. We are known for our Splash Room which I endearingly call “Las Vegas for Kids” because they can do everything they’ve always wanted to do but they aren’t allowed to do at home!
To have a place where kids and parents can let go and be free has always been important, but never as important as this time right now. I hope in some way that helps each person that steps foot into our studios.
How do you come up with the ideas for classes, themes etc.?
This is the MOST fun part of it all. Anything goes here…and we select themes and ideas based off of what we think will be epic. Not just, fun, but epicly awesome. If we aren’t excited about the idea then we won’t do it. I also have an amazing team of Visionaries as the teachers and we have some of the BEST brainstorming sessions. Being in a room with 7 creatives coming up with ideas with no limitations is energizing to say the least.
What has working with your father taught you?
The first thing that working with my father has taught me is that we are more alike then I have ever realized. My father and I always understood each other on a deeper level. We knew that not everyone would understand us as creative thinkers but we had to work hard to understand others that were more mainstream and be able to translate that. That understanding has literally molded my way of thinking about absolutely everything and has been a gift. The more I work with my Dad the more I understand how his genuine curiosity is what makes him know so many things, and his ability to observe and accept what he sees is what keeps his open mind. My father has brought me an understanding of myself that gives me self confidence and deep appreciation for the world around me.
What are some of the most important things that you focus on?
Our 3 core values are keeping the kids Safe, having fun and being the most creative versions of themselves naturally. Part of keeping our kids safe, beside all of the additional protocols for COVID is keeping them mentally safe. Using kindness when speaking to one another, how to comment kindly and constructively about each other’s artwork. Appreciating all types of people, ideas and views. It starts with the kids and we understand that. Besides being creative, we want to build a community of empathetic humans that will grow up to make the world a better place. If we can help shape their self confidence, they will make good choices about how they treat each other and that’s all we can ask for.
Finally, please let us know how our readers can connect with you and learn more.