My Main Street-Art Loft Studio
Down to a Fine Art
Considering taking up a new hobby, brushing up your paint skills or engaging in a relaxing pastime? The team at Art Loft Studio are giving creative minds a place to express themselves.
Owner Ana Maria Mancuso in the studio
Georgia O’Keeffe, a famous American modernist painter, once said, “to create one’s own world in any of the arts takes courage.”
That’s precisely what Ana Maria Mancuso has done with Art Loft Studio, a studio and art gallery she opened in 2019 with the admirable goal of igniting passion for art in children and adults alike. Mancuso has been an artist since she was a child, finding inspiration, peace and expression in various art forms, including painting — it’s a medium she’s appreciated for many years. “I started learning about famous artists like the Group of Seven and wanted to understand the colour mixing and brush techniques they used,” she says. After immigrating to Vaughan from Venezuela 25 years ago and working as a special-interest program provider in elementary schools for the York Region District School Board, Mancuso says it was time for her to make a change. “I’ve created a space where kids and adults can discover their inner artist, develop artistic skills and take advantage of the many therapeutic benefits of art programming,” she says. “We believe everyone can be an artist, and that art is a magical way to express ourselves, leave our mark on the world and communicate what can’t be put into words.”
Display of student art in the studio
Art Loft Studio offers various sketching and painting programs. There are children’s classes (where kids can explore their creativity, hone their concentration and problem-solving skills and support their cognitive development) and adult courses (art is an ideal creative outlet to help ease stress and anxiety), as well as camps, birthday parties and adult paint nights. Mancuso says she’s passionate about helping local artists develop in Vaughan, especially because of the city’s diversity. “This allows us to engage with different people from various cultures that provide their own perspectives in art,” she explains. She also appreciates Vaughan’s progressive approach to supporting small businesses like hers, with programs like the Starter Company Plus program and My Main Street, both of which have helped her grow her studio. The latter especially helped Mancuso with much-needed funds and helpful advice from the Vaughan Business and Entrepreneurship Centre team. “With the funds from My Main Street, we were able to purchase new equipment to enhance our art programs and offerings, and it helped us with advertising — we got a new outdoor sign — to help us build awareness in our area,” she says.
Four years in, and Art Loft Studio is poised to continue growing. Mancuso has hired several instructors and assistants, program registrations have increased and they developed and launched a new website. Thanks to the surge in interest, she plans to add more birthday parties and paint nights to the studio’s calendar. “I love teaching kids and watching how they progress as budding artists,” she says.
7777 Weston Road, unit 212, Vaughan
Hanging up the apron in the studio