South Bay Art Department
Above L to R: Sarah Watanabe-Rocco, Terri Burris, dogs Cookie & Della
South Bay Art Department offers art classes in a variety of genres for children and adults, as well as parties and summer camps. Terri Burris joined South Bay Art Department in 2012, and Sarah Watanabe-Rocco joined in 2017. The two, who have both studied art extensively and worked professionally in the field, took over ownership in 2019. Their separate paths led them to this partnership due to a common love for art, teaching kids, music and dogs!
Tell us about your instructors.
“South Bay Art Department’s classes aim to nurture individuality and confidence through personal, creative expression. Instructors encourage students to work from their own experience and interests to enjoy the process of making art and not solely focus on the finished piece. We love to help inspire and guide each student to develop their own unique, artistic voice.”
How does your business empower kids and give them a voice?
“We encourage process-oriented art-making, allowing children to explore and experiment with different materials while encouraging creativity and risk-taking. The result is not to have everyone create a ‘perfect’ piece of art but rather works of art that showcase each child’s unique voice and personality.”
How do you help kids cope with pandemic-related stress?
“Research has proven that art in itself is therapeutic for all ages. By providing a safe space for children to connect with one another while creating art, we are helping kids find a respite from this life-changing pandemic and the many ways it has affected them.”
What does your business offer that makes kids say, “Wow!”?
“When kids first walk in and see our studio with paint splatters everywhere, it can be a bit of a surprise! We see it as very liberating for them to freely express themselves without worrying about making a mess.”
Does your business appeal to kids through technology or help them momentarily step away from it?
“We try to help the students momentarily step away to discover how the simple act of putting pencil to paper (or paintbrush to canvas) can take them to another world in their imagination—a world that doesn’t require technology or social media.”
How does your business support charitable organizations?
“We love supporting charities and have donated to ASPCA, Black Visions Collective, the Koala Hospital of Australia and Razom for Ukraine, to name a few. This is a high priority for us, and we are always looking for new ways to give back.”