A LITTLE MORE ABOUT US.
As the founder of small hands big art, Jennifer learned at an early age the power that art can have when combined with creative (albeit deviant) thinking. Other than that one time she scrawled "Jenny is a Pig!" on her bedroom door & blamed her brother, some of her fondest childhood memories involve creating art.
A college art scholarship naturally led to a 17 year career in the securities brokerage industry, where she honed invaluable skills implementing out-of-the box enterprise deliverables & driving for consensus. After stumbling off that little shelf thingy on the corporate ladder labeled “Not a Step,” she now enjoys simply focusing on what inspires her most: children & art. And writing stuff like this.
Though memories of her vast corporate accomplishments (and, thankfully, failures) have faded, she can still recall her favorite Crayola colors, and waits patiently for Starbucks to roll out a "Burnt Sienna" roast. An obsessive circle cutter & tidyer-upper, she enjoys lining things up by color, and dreaming of one day inventing a better, faster way to sort buttons. Jennifer enjoys the outdoors and has served on the Board of Directors of the Festival in the Park since 2008.
Katie joined Small Hands Big Art in December, 2012. Her flourish for the creative began as a little girl – evidenced by her avid sticker collection, desire to pass the time organizing the “craft closet”, and flair for wearing swimsuits over her clothes in the middle of Minnesota winters! Most at home in dance shoes, on a stage, or covered in paint, Katie decided to pursue the visual arts in adulthood as well.
Katie is a graduate of North Park University (Chicago, IL) with a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art where her emphasis was in sculpture, mixed media, and nonprofit management and leadership. Expressing herself through the arts was incredibly formational for Katie. She enjoys cultivating an environment for students to be challenged, get messy, have fun, and learn to express themselves.
When not at small hands big art, Katie can be found busily planning fun events with her vast social circle, exploring the Charlotte art scene, on a hike with her rescue pup, or adding a dash of creativity to her family business. Oh and in her free time she managed to plan & design her epic May 2016 industrial warehouse wedding!
Sonja is a freelance photographer and designer with a passion for the arts and character development in children. She graduated from Thomas Edison State College with an AS in Business Administration.
She worked as an Art Director at a Boy’s and Girl’s Club and as an Assistant Teacher at a charter school in Charlotte before finding her way to Small Hands Big Art. She fell in love with the studio space, mixing watercolor paints, and of course the wonderful team.
Currently, Sonja is working on a personal photography project, “100 Strangers.” The goal? To practice telling better stories by asking a stranger if she could take a photo of them and then doing it 99 more times.
When she’s not at the SHBA studio, a typical day finds Sonja as an elementary substitute teacher or buried up to her elbows on a freelance project. By night, however, she is a writer and avid enthusiast of cello music.
During her free time, she can be found either behind the wheel enjoying a new adventure with friends or in her family’s upstairs workshop being creative and learning something new. Sonja lives with her fun-loving and uber-entreprenurial family in Matthews, NC.
Lauren was born & raised in Cincinnati & moved to Charlotte in high school. Lauren was a creative child (illustrating her own fashion catalog!) but it was through her art teacher's influence that her passion and excitement for the visual arts was instilled.
Lauren earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education with minors in Studio Art and Psychology from Queens University.
In addition to Small Hands Big Art, Lauren teaches art at Weddington Christian Academy during the school year.
In her free time, Lauren enjoys traveling, DIY home decor projects, and thrift & consignment shopping!
After flying the friendly skies as a flight attendant for 18 years, Karen jokingly says her “new life is a mess.” In 2006, Karen retired her wings and flew feet first into the wonderful world of art. Painting has always been her passion ~ she loves painting images of the beautiful skies that she saw while flying.
Karen started her own traveling art business called The Clay Cart in 2011. She joined the small hands big art team in 2012 teaching fun & whimsical children’s pottery camps. Karen loves to help children discover the limitless world of possibilities in hand built and wheel thrown pottery. Always striving to develop as an artist by taking advanced level art classes, Karen believes there’s nothing better than having a job that you truly love, and teaching art allows her to do just that!
Karen lives in Marvin, NC with her husband Rob, daughter Paige, son Cole, and loveable dog, Lucy.
Sarah will earn her her Masters in Art Education from Winthrop in May, 2017 and then is heading off to Europe for a year! We plan to keep her picture here so we can remember her smiling face (and to pressure her into coming back), while she enjoys a much deserved break from all her hard work & studies!
Growing up Sarah was always searching for pieces to glue together. But it wasn’t until high school where she discovered her love for the visual arts through her art teacher who inspired her to always try something new. Through his help, she realized what it was to create something that was truly one of a kind. Sarah enjoys creating mixed media art work by using a combination of drawing, painting, found objects, and energy in her art.
The product of a Jewish father and a Peruvian mother, Sarah naturally possesses a sense of culture which greatly influences her art work and the lessons that she leads. She thrives in a fast paced environment, enjoys change, and loves working with the brilliant minds of children.
Brittany has been with small hands big art since the first drop of paint splashed on our sparkling white floors in 2009! A native of Rock Hill, SC, Brittany is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and is finishing her thesis for her Master of Art Education from Winthrop University. During the school year, she teaches art at Chester Park School of the Arts and during the summer, she teaches in the studio and our offsite camps when she's not busy having babies.
While at USC, Brittany majored in Art Education and maintained a certification to teach Kindergarten through Twelfth grade art. Brittany is a strong believer that an education cannot be complete without the elements of art. She believes that art gives us the opportunity to express ourselves in a way that nothing else can, and through art, we learn more about history, math, science, literature, and ourselves.
Brittany had her 2nd baby Georgia in Oct. 2016 (Isla was born in June 2015) so she has her hands full at the moment! She's also a super talented jewelry designer! Check out her popular online shop, On a Wire!
Aubrey is a senior at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, majoring in Architecture. She passed up a Small Hands Big Art company car last summer, opting instead for a swanky internship in NYC at an architectural firm. hmpf. But she still graces us with her presence when her busy schedule allows, and for that, we are eternally grateful.
This is Hannah. She spent the best years of her life here teaching, mopping up paint spills and singing karaoke into paintbrush handle microphones. She is now a Navy wife and new mom to Stella Grace (born in June 2016), residing in Kittery, Maine with her husband Ash. Deep down we'd like to believe she secretly longs for the days she used to get paid to cut circles and hide erasers.
We miss her. Especially when we need to reach something on a high shelf.
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