An Arts & Language Studio for Kids

About

Our Philosophy

At Little Artistas, we believe that being prescriptive about art is antithetical to the creative experience. We want to instill in our students a life-long love for art by creating a safe space for kids to explore the art of creative play and the playfulness of creativity! As part of our nurturing approach, Little Artistas focuses on community, respect, tolerance and kindness. 

Our studio is a free and happy place where kids can do what they do best: be imaginative.

 

Our Founder

Headshot of Anna Calonje, founder of Little Artistas

Hola! I’m Anna Calonje, founder of Little Artistas. I grew up in a bilingual home in Cali, Colombia in a neighborhood full of artists, educators and environmentalists. I opened Little Artistas because I believe children should have access to creative outlets, safe spaces for self-expression and, most importantly, fun ways to learn!

In 2013, we opened our doors with 5 enrolled students. Since then, our amazing team has grown Little Artistas into a space that serves hundreds of wonderful San Francisco families. During the past couple of years we have laughed (a ton), made beautiful art and friendships, practiced lots of Español and had an all around blast! Thank you for trusting us to nurture your children while we help instill in them a life-long love of art

Our Teachers

Alyssa Aviles

Alyssa Aviles

Describe yourself in three sentences.

I am an old soul with a young heart. I am quiet and calm in nature, but passionate and emotionally driven. I am filled with pride for my roots and am dedicated to the success and prosperity of my community.

What makes the Bay Area awesome for you?

The Bay area’s rich culture, history and open-mindedness has made me who I am. I was born and raised in San Francisco and will always love the unique culture that is born from this region.

What inspires you to be creative?

I am inspired by the power of art and its potential to connect people. Through art, we are able to reach the depths of individuals that you cannot always reach through words. Art is essential to our communities. Art is what keeps our culture and our souls alive.

Why do you make art?

For me, art is not just a hobby or interest; art is how I cope and communicate. There are times when my words and my voice don’t suffice, and I speak through images. I make art because I love to and I need to. Art is my outlet of expression and where I channel all my energy.

What do you love about teaching?

I would not be able to feel pride in myself as an artist if I did not share my knowledge with others. Teaching is beautiful because you are empowering others to be their higher selves, and you are building a relationship with someone that may flower into something very special. However, what I love most about teaching is how much my students teach me.

What is most fun about working with kids?

What I love most about working with children is the inner child that they bring out of me. Sometimes being an adult is full of pressure and stress, and we forget about the carefree, fun and silly version of us that is deep inside. When with children, that person emerges.

Do you have a favorite type of food?

I love all kinds of spicy food!

Who is your best friend and what makes them special?

My best friend is my little sister, Alexis. We have the kind of bond in which we share everything with each other and are completely comfortable being in our own skin. We understand that our sisterhood prevails anything that could come between us, and we are constantly there for each other. We can have intellectual conversations together and we can be completely goofy too!

Tell us about a special moment from your time teaching at Little Artistas.

I have many special moments at Little Artistas, but my favorite moments are seeing artistic growth and progression or a genuine passion for visual art.

Eva Welles, Operations Manager

Eva Welles, Operations Manager

Jenny Rodriguez

Jenny Rodriguez

1. Describe yourself in four sentences:

Music is everywhere in my life.

I always try to bring sweetness, fun and humor to people.

I am a very sincere person and that is why I highly value honesty and loyalty.

I am a talkative and extroverted person.

2. What inspires you to be creative?

Daily life experiences, feelings and moods.

3. Why do you make art?

Because is my way to build bridges to connect with people and the world.

4. What do you love most about teaching?

To get the opportunity to touch the lives of my students, contribute shaping their future and providing them with inspiration.

5. What is most fun about working with kids?

That I can live in their world for a while where anything is possible and there is no place for mistakes nor rules! There is just a place for creativity!

6. Do you have a favorite type of food?

Colombian food, of course! and Thai food.

Lucia Leal

Lucia Leal

Describe yourself in three sentences.

I love art in all its different forms and essences. As a young girl, I was always surrounded by people who were willing to share their knowledge, creativity, and compassion with me to help me grow as a person with visionary idea of the world. For me, life is a nonstop learning process that will always involve art as my way of expression and freedom.

What makes the Bay Area awesome for you?

The Bay Area is my home. I love the diversity and the open-minded people I get to see here. I truly believe that particularly San Francisco is special not because of its beautiful places, but because of the different ethnic groups, culture, traditions that I get to experience here. I am lucky to be here and contribute to the uniqueness of this amazing city.

What inspires you to be creative?

Inspiration comes to me in different ways. I would be lying if I’d say that I get inspired by only happiness. I think when you’re creative, you will create art even when you’re feeling different emotions like nostalgia and disappointment. All these different situations inspire me to create and express my thoughts and emotions.

Why do you make art?

I make art because it is my way of expression. I make art because it makes me feel so free. It makes me feel good about myself and allows me to see beyond boundaries. With art there is no borders; instead, there is understanding. I make art because it is necessary in everyone’s lives.

What do you love about teaching?

One of the things I love about teaching is how I connect with my students. When I teach a class to children, I just don’t think “Class is over, and that’s it.” I get involved and care about anything that they tell me. Teaching art to children is one of the best things I have done in my life. I’m sure this is something I was meant to do.

What is most fun about working with kids?

There are many fun things about working with kids. It is really fun when they all do collaborative work and get to share their ideas with other kids. They learn about working as a team; they have fun making art together, and the best thing is their laughter when they’re having a great time… Even if that involves a little mess.

Do you have a favorite type of food?

I like many different vegetarian foods. No GMO’s!

Who is your best friend and what makes them special?

I have a few best friends. Some make visual arts; a couple of them make culinary arts; and some are dance performers! They’re special because each one of them is unique and like-minded in principles that matter a lot to me. My friends are also special because they do not have high expectations from me and have proved that they’re there for me when I needed them.

Tell us about a special moment from your time teaching at Little Artistas.

There have been many special moments at Little Artistas. It is great when kids coming into the studio hugging the teachers because they are happy to be back. Or when they tell you they are having the best day of their lives. When those moments happen, they make me realize that there are kids out there that love art just as much as I do. They are my engine to continue doing and loving my job.