Visual art is the perfect medium to foster positive personal growth, that’s the mantra of Long Beach art studio, Inspyr Arts Studio. After ten successful years at their 4th Street location, they’ve moved to a bigger space at 2535 E. Broadway. The new location has the art studio the LB community knows and loves, with art classes for kids in Long Beach, along with an adjacent space dubbed “Inspyr Space.”
Throughout the week of August 6–11, the new space will open its doors for the community to try it out themselves. From 10am–6pm each day (note: only 10am–12:30pm on Saturday), there will be a kids’ art show, contest, prizes, mini workshops, photo booth, treats and more to celebrate the new opening. Did we mention it’s free? It’s the perfect time to check it out yourself and fall in love with all things Inspyr Arts.
While starting her career and working different jobs, Inspyr Arts studio owner Vicky Ojelia kept feeling the tug to open her own art studio. “I was an animation major at CSUF, I had no inkling that I actually wanted to teach,” says Ojelia. “I had an opportunity to teach at a small studio during college and I fell in love. That’s when I started Inspyr Arts, going from location to location of Boys and Girls Clubs with my little art kit.”
During her time teaching art at a continuation high school, she realized the need for art education for at-risk youth. She’s right. A 2012 study by the National Endowment for the Arts demonstrated arts education has strong links with other positive educational outcomes including leading to better academic performance, higher career goals, and students becoming more civically-minded.
Fast forward ten years and she’s now in the beta phase of building an online art class system, “Inspyr Arts Ed.” After seeing how well students responded when Inspyr visits schools to do art workshops, she realized that in reality only a small percentage of schools can afford the cost of bringing in an art studio for workshops. That’s when she decided to start recording their classes and worked to develop this program that teachers can access online to teach art to their students.
Back to the Long Beach artstudio, Miss Vicky shares more about the Inspyr Arts method for teaching art to kids. “Nobody works on the same thing at the same time here,” she says. “It’s based off each individual artist and what they want to do. We’re a little different than other studios that way.”
“Inspyr is very technique-oriented in our methodology. We don’t jump people around, we want students to master one medium at a time. You can’t play the guitar one week and the drums next week and feel comfortable or confident in either one. We want them to learn technique to enhance their creativity.”
Classes range from $75-$95 depending on age and class month, and classes are open for kids as young as 3 or 4 up to teens. There’s also a discovery curriculum where they have the opportunity to try six different mediums ranging from graphite, pastels, water color, ink nibs and more. And, of course, it’s a great spot for birthday parties and celebrations.
After ten years, Ojelia feels like they are on solid ground when it comes to teaching visual arts to kids. Now they are adding more digital classes to teach graphic design, digital art, and video editing to Long Beach youth.
The new location is decked out in murals and arts everywhere, and includes the new Inspyr Space. “It’s really about having a space for the community,” said Ojelia.
They ask for a small donation to use the space, just to cover the cost, and they’re open to all sorts of uses. But they’d especially love to see “mompreneurs” utilize the space as much as possible. As an artist, entrepreneur, and a mom herself, Ojelia has a special place in her heart for fellow mompreneurs.
To sum up the space, she adds, “We really want to be a beacon of inspiration for Long Beach. We want people who use the space to feel inspired and rejuvenated.”