Inspirational Interview Featuring Stefanie Littlewood | Littlewood Fine Arts & Community Co-Op

This Inspirational Interview is super exciting for me to share with you! Littlewood Fine Arts & Community Co-Op just came to Yuma and if you haven't checked it out yet, you are TOTALLY missing out. Stefanie and Lia are twin sisters that had a vision and worked very hard to make it come to life for their community. So, check out our interview to hear exactly what their co-op is all about and make sure you visit them SOON!

 (K) "Tell me a little bit about yourself."  (S) "So, my sister and I grew up here. We are twins. I joined the military and she stayed here, did murals and created art. She has done like 69 murals in this town. I was a hygienist in the Air Force and I just got out of the military in January. She pitched this idea to me and I thought it was amazing. I was totally nervous about it because I am super organized and was like "it's not going to work." Then, this building fell in our laps. Bill Butler owns this building. He is a photographer and is super amazing. He was able to work a deal out with us so that we could rent it, renovate it and use it the way that we want to use it. It is ALL Lia though, straight up Lia."

(K) "Tell me a little bit about yourself."

(S) "So, my sister and I grew up here. We are twins. I joined the military and she stayed here, did murals and created art. She has done like 69 murals in this town. I was a hygienist in the Air Force and I just got out of the military in January. She pitched this idea to me and I thought it was amazing. I was totally nervous about it because I am super organized and was like "it's not going to work." Then, this building fell in our laps. Bill Butler owns this building. He is a photographer and is super amazing. He was able to work a deal out with us so that we could rent it, renovate it and use it the way that we want to use it. It is ALL Lia though, straight up Lia."

 (K) "When did you and your sister develop an interest in art?"  (S) "Our great-grandfather was a sculptor. Our entire family are a bunch of artists. Lia started painting and drawing in Junior High and then I tried in college just because I thought, "If she could do it, I could do it!" My style is a little more realistic and classical. Her style is wild and fun. She is not afraid to just go at it and it blows my mind. My style is more natural things like the human body or dogs, I love dogs."

(K) "When did you and your sister develop an interest in art?"

(S) "Our great-grandfather was a sculptor. Our entire family are a bunch of artists. Lia started painting and drawing in Junior High and then I tried in college just because I thought, "If she could do it, I could do it!" My style is a little more realistic and classical. Her style is wild and fun. She is not afraid to just go at it and it blows my mind. My style is more natural things like the human body or dogs, I love dogs."

 (K) "What inspired you to start this co-op?"  (S) "What inspired us was, In January we went to schools and did tours to see if they would want an artist to come into schools to do a cute little art project on a Friday afternoon. Then, we realized that the need for art for kids is greater than we thought. We thought there would be plenty of art in classes but there is not. It's not the teachers' fault either, they just don't have the money for it. Drawing with crayons isn't enough so we decided to open this place and make it free for kids no matter what. Kids are 18 and under too, not like 12. Whatever class we teach is free for kids and since I am a veteran, I have decided that all of my classes will be free for veterans or active duty. That was the main reason though,  we need accessible art. You can take a class at the college and that's great but that's a pretty penny. You have to teach kids to have fun and be messy with their art. You can do that here. We want a place for kids to be able to just go to town."

(K) "What inspired you to start this co-op?"

(S) "What inspired us was, In January we went to schools and did tours to see if they would want an artist to come into schools to do a cute little art project on a Friday afternoon. Then, we realized that the need for art for kids is greater than we thought. We thought there would be plenty of art in classes but there is not. It's not the teachers' fault either, they just don't have the money for it. Drawing with crayons isn't enough so we decided to open this place and make it free for kids no matter what. Kids are 18 and under too, not like 12. Whatever class we teach is free for kids and since I am a veteran, I have decided that all of my classes will be free for veterans or active duty. That was the main reason though,  we need accessible art. You can take a class at the college and that's great but that's a pretty penny. You have to teach kids to have fun and be messy with their art. You can do that here. We want a place for kids to be able to just go to town."

 (K) "How has the co-op already made an impact on our community?"  (S) "Well, we do have our regular customers come in with their kids. We are working with an autism group and we are trying to work with other Yuma moms. We are spreading the word as far as art is concerned. We want people to know that they can come out and paint together and create together! People have also seen our mural outside and they want murals on their buildings because they see our mural."

(K) "How has the co-op already made an impact on our community?"

(S) "Well, we do have our regular customers come in with their kids. We are working with an autism group and we are trying to work with other Yuma moms. We are spreading the word as far as art is concerned. We want people to know that they can come out and paint together and create together! People have also seen our mural outside and they want murals on their buildings because they see our mural."

 (K) "What is your vision for this co-op?"  (S) "We eventually are going to expand. We want us to have a place in the foothills, one in Somerton, one in San Luis. Basically, around town, we want tiny little shops for people to go and create art. We really want Somerton to have one. Somerton has a lot of amazing artists. Right now, this room will be our ceramics room and the second room will be a painting class room. Then, we have a music studio in the works. We want to have onsite childcare so that we have a place for parents to come on a date night and just bring their kid here. Eventually, that's our plan."

(K) "What is your vision for this co-op?"

(S) "We eventually are going to expand. We want us to have a place in the foothills, one in Somerton, one in San Luis. Basically, around town, we want tiny little shops for people to go and create art. We really want Somerton to have one. Somerton has a lot of amazing artists. Right now, this room will be our ceramics room and the second room will be a painting class room. Then, we have a music studio in the works. We want to have onsite childcare so that we have a place for parents to come on a date night and just bring their kid here. Eventually, that's our plan."

 (K) "How has this co-op already made an impact in your own life?"  (S) "Personally, it has made me start painting more than I was painting before because for the longest time I didn't have time to paint. Now, all I do is paint, make a schedule, and then paint again really quick. Its really nice. It's stressful owning a business of course but when you take time do what you really love, it is so nice."

(K) "How has this co-op already made an impact in your own life?"

(S) "Personally, it has made me start painting more than I was painting before because for the longest time I didn't have time to paint. Now, all I do is paint, make a schedule, and then paint again really quick. Its really nice. It's stressful owning a business of course but when you take time do what you really love, it is so nice."

 (K) "How does the co-op work?"  (S) "So we have members. It's about $25 a month. There are three levels but that is the most common one. They bring in about 5 pieces of their work every 3 weeks. If they sell any of their pieces in the gallery, 100% of that is theirs. We don't take a commission. If they put anything in the gift shop, we take 10% of it because it will stay there until it sells. As far as shows, you get 6-7 shows a year depending on the amount of pieces you have and the amount of space we have available. So, as far as co-ops go, its just a collective group of artists that come together."

(K) "How does the co-op work?"

(S) "So we have members. It's about $25 a month. There are three levels but that is the most common one. They bring in about 5 pieces of their work every 3 weeks. If they sell any of their pieces in the gallery, 100% of that is theirs. We don't take a commission. If they put anything in the gift shop, we take 10% of it because it will stay there until it sells. As far as shows, you get 6-7 shows a year depending on the amount of pieces you have and the amount of space we have available. So, as far as co-ops go, its just a collective group of artists that come together."

 (K) "What would you like the community to know about this co-op?"  (S) "That we have so many free or cheap classes. That is what I want people to get out of it. They need to come here to see how amazing it is. Once people come here, they are like "It's bigger than I expected!" or "I didn't know your classes were only $8." We are not really in it for the money, we are in it for expanding the art and getting it out there for people to try it. I had a 50 year old woman in my last class that said she had never painted because her ex husband told her never to paint because she had no skills. It was really sad but she was the best painter in my class. She never would have tried if she hadn't seen our mural and stopped by to try it."

(K) "What would you like the community to know about this co-op?"

(S) "That we have so many free or cheap classes. That is what I want people to get out of it. They need to come here to see how amazing it is. Once people come here, they are like "It's bigger than I expected!" or "I didn't know your classes were only $8." We are not really in it for the money, we are in it for expanding the art and getting it out there for people to try it. I had a 50 year old woman in my last class that said she had never painted because her ex husband told her never to paint because she had no skills. It was really sad but she was the best painter in my class. She never would have tried if she hadn't seen our mural and stopped by to try it."

 (K) "Where do you see the co-op in 5 years?"  (S) "I would say, definitely state-wide at that point. I would hope that we would go up to Phoenix, Bisby. It's adorable. Lia already goes to shows in San Diego, Mission Beach, and Phoenix all the time. To have a booth just for Littlewood co-op would be awesome. That would be maybe more like a two year plan instead of a 5 year plan."

(K) "Where do you see the co-op in 5 years?"

(S) "I would say, definitely state-wide at that point. I would hope that we would go up to Phoenix, Bisby. It's adorable. Lia already goes to shows in San Diego, Mission Beach, and Phoenix all the time. To have a booth just for Littlewood co-op would be awesome. That would be maybe more like a two year plan instead of a 5 year plan."

 (K) "What is your favorite quote?"  (S) "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle

(K) "What is your favorite quote?"

(S) "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle

Thanks for checking out our blog post! Make sure you take some time to go out and check out the co-op! You will not regret it! Please like and share this post to spread the word in Yuma about Littlewood Fine Arts & Community Co-op!

 

xoxo,

   Kayla