Art Smart was started by stay-at-home mom and artist, Stacy Pae, in her Irvine home. Quickly, her weekly art class turned into two classes, then three, then five, and additional classes were added for teenagers and adults. By 2007 there were too many students for Stacy's home to hold, so Art Smart moved into the current Tustin location in order to accommodate her students, and enable her to bring in some additional art teachers. In 2015 Stacy relocated to Seoul Korea due to her husband's job; and then in June of 2016, Stacy officially handed over the reigns to current owner, Blake Pannell, businessman, teacher, storyteller, husband to Trudy, and father of 4.
Art Smart is special place where a student can take a blank paper or canvas and know they have the freedom to create what abides in their imagination. It’s a unique time in their lives when the rules are not established and freedom abounds.
I want the students to feel as comfortable in the studio as if they were in their own living room; my intent is to maintain a sense of peace, freedom and tranquility.
As for my origins...I began in the artistic world. I went to Art Center of Pasadena for a year, Otis College of Art & Design for a semester and took a two years of figure/life drawing and painting as Cerritos College …but, unlike Art Smart parents where you are supporting your student in the field of art at an early age, my parents (although, I consider them to be spectacular) were unaware of the possibilities in the arts. Instead, I was coaxed out of art and into something more practical and “business” friendly. I do not fault my parents, they were just unaware; to you, I want to take a moment and encourage both you and your student about the life of an artist.
Over the years, I’ve learned that art is all around us…whether we realize it or not. It takes many forms – classical, graphic, architecture, design, computer, manufacturing, animation, etc. We live in the artist world. Some of that art is self created by us – the way we decorate our house, the garden we design or the food we cook for our family. Something inside of us drives us to beautify our surroundings…we take a blank palette and add our own choice of “colors” to create our picture.
The business side of art is more readily available today than ever before – from children’s book illustration to designing the next I-pod, from architecture to web graphics, from creating costumes for a movie to manufacturing a dining room chair…it’s all art. Artists combine materials in an orderly fashion and produce beauty from chaos.
Therefore, the art classes you bring your student to are not just play time or babysitting opportunities they are a combination of freedom of expression and learning how to mix different media to create something worthy to display…and, who knows, inside these classes may reside the next generation of Frank Lloyd Wrights, Pixar studio moguls, Chris Van Allsburg storytellers or Minecraft entrepreneurs.