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Meet Sofia del Rivero of Art Box in Coconut Grove

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sofia del Rivero.

Sofia, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up in Miami and have loved art ever since I can remember. I received a BFA in Studio Art at NYU, where I was exposed to a whole new world of different mediums at school as well as a new metropolitan lifestyle. Once I moved back to Miami, I was thrilled to see my hometown had a brand new energy and new movements happening in support of the arts: a growing art district, new museums, new galleries, music venues, artisan markets, and even popup parks. The idea of Art Box began as a way to spread this enthusiasm to kids. Nowadays with many public schools taking art out of their curriculums and with technology making its way into every second of every day, it’s not easy for kids to be exposed to hands-on activities that expand their knowledge on general culture and put their fine motor skills to use. It’s truly incredible to see the students craving to learn about the world they live in, while simultaneously making beautiful works of art and expanding their self-confidence. With the growth of the program over the last 3 years, we have now also implemented lessons, workshops, and special events for adults, which are just as exciting.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t think it’s ever a smooth road for anyone opening their first business with no prior experience. It’s definitely a learning process, especially when what I’m selling are quality creative experiences, not a product you can gift- wrap and take home with you. It’s not the easiest thing for a customer to grasp right away, but it’s only when they try it and personally experience a workshop that they realize what makes Art Box so unique and different from anything they have ever tried before.

Please tell us about Art Box.
Art Box is a hub for all things creative. It’s an art studio where knowledge of the art world, both classic and contemporary, is valued just as much as artistic skill and technique. Anyone who attends one of our workshops will not only leave having learned new skills, but also fascinated by a new art movement, or a street artist, or a tradition from a foreign country they never knew about. Our workshops are educational but also leave room for artistic freedom. This means that by the end of a workshop, each student leaves with a completely unique work of art, not the same exact painting as everyone else in the room. While it’s definitely essential to cover the fundamentals of any medium, our philosophy at Art Box is that to be an artist, you don’t necessarily have to know how to draw like Leonardo da Vinci.

You could be a chef, an architect, a fashion designer, etc. and at the end of the day, that still makes you an artist. That is why our studio offers such a wide variety of workshops and events and has a little bit of something for everyone.

Another thing that sets Art Box apart from the rest is that its owner and staff are exhibiting artists, and we are very passionate about what we do. It’s not a job where we teach for a few hours and then flip the switch at 6 pm; it’s something we do on our own time as well. I have been participating in art shows the past couple of years showing my oil paintings, and I’ve come to find that teaching keeps me motivated and inspired to keep my own work alive.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
It’s funny because now that I work at an art studio, I get so many happy flashbacks from my childhood: the smell of crayons and Elmer’s glue, the feeling of clay, the sound of an electrical pencil sharpener… the craziest thing by far is having the chance to teach in the same classroom where I once took art lessons at only 6 years old. I’m now teaching Contemporary Art lessons at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart, where some of my fondest memories were made. It’s very bizarre standing in the same classroom, where everything looks exactly the same as it did over 20 years ago, except smaller. It’s the same classroom where I was first introduced to the greats like Van Gogh and Monet, and where I can now introduce students to some amazingly talented artists who are based in their hometown of Miami.

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  1. Maxine COHN

    August 17, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    I was so thrilled to read your article on Sofia del Rivero. When she mentions standing in the same art room where her love of art began and teaching in that same space, imagine my excitement in seeing my former student in front our art students and remembering Sofia as my student!!! I am fortunate to have been at Carrollton for thirty six years and have watched Sofia come full circle! I am so blessed to see former students teaching many of those same art concepts learned in first, second and third grades. I have the best job in the world… I witness the results of my words, my love and my passion! Maxine COHN -Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart

  2. Holda Dorsey

    August 17, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Bravo Sofie! Your California family is proud of your accomplishments.

  3. Patricia Wiesen

    August 17, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    Congratulations Sofie! We are thrilled for you that you are following your heart. I will come visit Art Box soon.

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