Take equal parts artistic talent, training in Art History, a passion for teaching and extensive knowledge of Italian culture, mix together until well incorporated, sprinkle in business advice from SCORE and serve from an eclectic venue. This recipe for success is the underpinning for a unique business venture, ARTissima Art Studio.
After living for several years in Italy where she taught Art and Art History, Cara Livorio returned to Pittsburgh with a kernel of a business concept. “I wanted to create a resource for the community where both kids and adults could learn about art and Italian culture, primarily language, and where I could share my experiences and talents in a more structured way.”
Cara was introduced to the resources available from SCORE by another SCORE Alum, Zineb Outnouna, Founder of Atlas Dreams Languages, LLC. Cara was teaching Italian for Atlas and brainstormed her idea for ARTissima Studio with Zineb. Zineb told Cara about SCORE; Ironically, Cara was paired with the same counselor who mentored Zineb, Bob DeGusipe. Cara started working with Bob in mid-2014 and Cara launched ARTissima Art Studio in January 2015.
Bob was impressed with how quickly Cara was able to fast-track opening the studio and translate her concept to a reality. Cara was “extremely driven”, said Bob. When she returned home from Italy, she continued to hone her skills. Her work in artist education at the Warhol Museum coupled with being an independent artist (murals, commissioned works, etc.) were the foundation for her business concept. She wanted to utilize her experiences and talents to create the environment for teaching art. Bob was able to connect Cara with resource partners to augment her art-based skills with those who could assist with the business aspects of ARTissima.
According to Cara, “I don’t like to do research, so having Bob as a mentor was a more experiential way of learning for me.” Being held accountable, exploring various business models, defining her goals and understanding her costs and revenue sources were the specific areas where Bob contributed to the successful launch. Cara admits that she appreciates structure and has become much more comfortable with, and has started to enjoy, the business aspects of the studio.
Regarding the physical studio, Cara knew she wanted a space where she could practice her craft, a space she could create that would be ‘in vision’, customized to her personal taste. She found a unique building that she calls “the barn”, conveniently located on Harts Run Road in Fox Chapel. The barn is intimate, funky and eclectic with paint spattered work surfaces, kid and adult friendly stools and the accouterments of an artist scattered throughout the rustic interior. The second floor is her personal studio space where she continues to create unique works for her portfolio and commissioned pieces.
This venue is the palette from which Cara delivers Youth Art Classes, Adult Art Classes, Art Night Out BYOB painting parties, Private Party event space and Special Events. Cara also offers instruction in Italian for youth and adults and Wine Appreciation. She is always looking to invite respected and talented friends, artists, and creative business owners to offer events and classes in the venue, such as the cookie and cake pop decorating classes currently delivered by a local baker, A Sweet Morsel Co. She will continue to investigate opportunities to expand the offerings that meet the quality and mission of ARTissima Art Studio for the community.
SCORE counselor Bob DeGusipe said of Cara, “She has good marketing sense, and has the talent, experience and drive to be successful. She understands art and is able to translate that knowledge to other people and still have fun.” As Bob stated, “we need partners in everything we do” and Cara has surrounded herself with trusted and respected strategic resource partners.
With SCORE assisting in the basics of the business side and Cara supplying the creative talent, we are confident ARTissima Art Studio will remain on the menu for the Pittsburgh community for the future.
For more information on the Pittsburgh SCORE chapter, a resource partner of the US Small Business Administration, please visit them at www.pittsburgh.score.org. SCORE is a business counseling/mentoring organization providing free counseling, resources and advice to people who are in business or want to start a business. SCORE also provides free or low cost workshops on various business topics. Volunteer counselors are experienced owners or managers of businesses that volunteer their time to help small businesses succeed. www.pittsburgh.score.org
About ARTissima Art Studio
Artissima is an art studio and center for creativity! Come, relax, and create! Have you been looking to evelop your artistic skills, get in touch with your inner artist, or simply unwind by painting amongst friends? If you answer with an enthusiastic, “YES”, then you’ve found your new “hang out” spot at Artissima! Art lessons for ages 3+ as well as one-night art events are up for grabs! Check out what’s happening in “the barn”, aka Artissima art studio! https://artissimastudio.com/