Peeing in private, sleeping past five. Since becoming a parent you’ve had to redefine your concept of luxury. Not having to drive across town to yet another extracurricular?   That’s practically as good as getting a massage. Which is why SmallSHOP founder (and mother of two) Sage Raval brings the amenities of a fine art studio to you.  So while your mini-Monet is masterpiece making, you can use the precious downtime to get dinner on the table. Or sneak in a nap.

smallshop kitty

Art School Confidential
Besides the huge bonus of not having to log miles on a freeway, the beauty of art classes in a home setting is that Sage and her teachers really get to know their students and how to push them creatively beyond hearts and smiley faces. Picassos-in-training are generally more inclined to take risks they otherwise wouldn’t in a large group environment. Lessons are tailored to your kiddo’s specific interests (rainbows, unicorns, LA Dodgers) and skill level but, most importantly, the emphasis is on fun.

All working artists, Raval’s staff is intimate with the ups and downs of the creative process, meaning they feel students’ pain when they feel stuck or freeze up before a blank canvas. That being said, they know how to work with artistic blocks–as well as the occasional temper tantrum.

skateboard project

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder
What if Junior’s inclination is to take globs of paint and smear them everywhere? Raval adapts the medium to the child’s vision. Meaning, she’ll gently encourage him to step away from acrylic and guide him towards watercolors instead.

Peanut Gallery
Projects run the gamut from still life painting to experimenting with drips to designing your own skateboard. Our hands-down favorite: self-portraits, which Raval then photographs and has made into a pillow that any parent would be proud to display on the sofa. (Or give as awesome gifts to the grands!)

portrait pillows

For Art’s Sake
At $150 an hour, ongoing one-on-one sessions are bit of a luxury. But, the price is the same for up to four kiddos, which comes in at just under $40 a head. (Add an extra $20 for each additional child up to seven maximum. More than seven kids for one teacher you run the risk of mutiny.) You can also test the waters with a one- or two-day workshop or an art project-driven birthday party. For instance, kids might personalize a photo of a face with a mask, which is then framed and voila: party favor.

smallshop teacher

And, last but not least, if you can round up 10 artsy friends with idle hands in the summer months of July and August, Sage creates weeklong private art camps at your place where an artist will come and work on three projects with your diminutive Degas.

Two or three hours to yourself plus the peace of mind knowing your kids are being creatively engaged? Now that’s a summer vacation.

For more information or to book a lesson, email or call (310) 815-1669.

Online at:

-Andrea Aria-Devoe