SmartwithArtWhat’s not to love about a quality art program that’s dedicated to enhancing kids’ art education and encouraging creativity? That’s what you get at Smart with Art, your Totally Awesome pick for best local art classes. The core offerings at this affordable arts program include instructor-led art education on-site, before/after school art classes, preschool art classes, art parties, and more. Throw in a variety of materials and a fun and supportive atmosphere and you’ve got yourself a wining artistic experience.

Smart with Art owner Amy Friedman recently took the time to chat with us about what makes Smart with Art so awesome, the inspiration behind her business, and more. Read on:

Red Tricycle: Congratulations on being voted “Most Awesome” by your community! What do you think your customers value most about your business?

Amy Friedman: Our customers love that we have high quality art education programming available on site at their child’s school. Our Smart with Art instructors are highly educated and trained to teach our wonderful art lessons. Our curriculum meets both state and national standards for the arts and offers children the opportunity to grow creatively, express themselves, learn art historical content and build artistic skills in a nurturing environment. Our process-oriented approach offers students options in creating each work of art. Parents love that we offer a variety of art education programming on site: Clay, Fused Glass, Visual Arts, Social Skills via Art, and more to come.

RT: What inspired you to start your business?

AF: I have been teaching art since 1995. I received my Masters in Art Education from Columbia University. I ran after-school classes and began conducting art parties early in my career, with parents always asking for more classes. My entrepreneurial spirit and love of art led me to where I am today. I took on a business partner, Michelle Dutton, and we were quickly able to go from 3 schools to 50 in just a two year time frame. Recently, when the arts were cut from education programming, we found the need to develop and offer programming both in school during the day and after school. Our business is filling a void that is drastically needed and shouldn’t be missed. Children need an outlet to be creative and we want to provide this. Artistic skills are important aspects of a child’s development. These skills build our critical thinkers of tomorrow! Our goal is put art into as many children’s hands as possible, and we are on our way. We are current teaching over 55 classes in the Seattle area, and continuing to grow. We expect to reach over 8,000 students this school year.

RT: Any advice for new business owners just getting started?

AF: My advice is to find what you love to do and do it. For me, there is no option to fail. I will work hard to see my ideas succeed. Most importantly, be passionate about what you do every day, it makes a difference in who you are. I love being inspired to continue to develop our business as we grow.

RT: Can you give us one tip for balancing entrepreneurship with parenthood?

AF: This is a difficult one. Fortunately, my family is on board with my business. They are always asking to help. Even the little things are so appreciated if your child gets involved and can get a glimpse of how hard we work to make this business a success. There are wonderful life lessons being shared in our home daily, and we have created great samples of dedicated worth ethics to share with our families.

RT: What is your proudest moment as a business owner or parent?

AF: I am proud to see how many children we have effected through the arts. Really the ultimate goal, is to empower children though the arts, and we are successfully doing that! I love seeing a child so proud of what they have created!

RT: Is there a special offer you’d like to include for Red Tricycle readers?

AF: Big thanks to all of our loyal customers! Book a birthday party or adult painting event and receive $100.00 off. Please mention REDTRICYCLE for your promo code. Good till 01/31/14.

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