A self-proclaimed artist may live deep in their own world of colors, materials, paint brushes, mixed media, and random supplies that they would use in their art studio or gallery. Their days may consist of creating and brainstorming. Their nights, occupied with art galleries, and exhibits whether their own, or their fellow artists. Perhaps they have late nights staying up perfecting a piece, or not being able to sleep until their creation is just as it should be. Their name may even be famous in small or large art circles or communities. However, what if you’re an “average Joe” with a job or career outside of the realm or Art, but you want to try your hand at it? Joe Picasso’s is a beautiful little world of art right in our very own city.
Formerly located on Las Olas Boulevard, across from Mango’s restaurant, Joe Picasso’s was a staple location for art and pottery painting. Unfortunately, the recession and high rent prices caused them to close their doors. Fortunately, we do have this existing location to enjoy.
Presently located at 1495 North Federal Highway, in Fort Lauderdale, it’s not just your average pottery store. Entering their doors, one is immersed in a kaleidoscope of colors, textures and lights, where you can immediately feel at ease, leaving the rush of the world far behind. Joe Picasso’s is a place where any average Joe can come be an artist and create something beautifully unique for themselves or as a gift for others. Their doors at this location has been now open for about the past 11 years.
At Joe’s you have so many choices to be your own artist. The Picasso Joe’s staff offers classes in wine glass painting, pottery painting, clay hand building, and canvas painting. With 2 kilns on site, the clay painting has a multi-step process where the client can pick up their creations, which are discretely packed with care once they are ready. If clay painting is not enough and want to create that which you want to paint, you can try your hand at wheel works.
You can also take a private pottery wheel lesson. Once you walk in the doors, find your spot within the variety of table sets and chairs that look to be right out of Alice’s Wonderland. The clients have the option to come solo or in small groups, and may bring their own food or drinks, provided that the staff does not handle the food or cleanup of it. Adults may even bring their own wines or beer to enjoy as they create. The mosaic projects that are offered are walk-in based. One may create their own design and it is not class based. One can pick their own materials and let their creative juices to flow!
Adults are not the only ones that can have fun at Joe Picasso’s. Kids can participate as well. For children, classes start for children and teens. The best classes for children might be pottery painting, clay hand building, and private pottery wheel lessons, starting at age 7 and up. That’s the spinning surface where you mold clay while the wheel turns. All ages are welcome, and teens can also enjoy coming in and showing off their creative ideas. The owner, Katie Karcheuny says, “Teenagers are a group that offers some of the most diverse and creative work we’ve seen!”.
Before the pandemic, some of the most popular classes were clay handling, or canvas painting. For the adults, private canvas painting with wine parties were very popular for team building for corporate businesses. Right now, the most popular class is the clay wheel lesson which is with Katie and up to 3 people.
Because of coronavirus, there was a great decline in client participation and an all-out complete stop from mid-March to the end of May. Joe Picasso’s did open a small summer camp for the summer with groups of up to 10 kids at a time. They also offer art kits which you can pick up and work on at home.
Clients are slowly starting to come in to do more now. The space inside offers enough area to maintain social distancing. Tables are set up for small groups and masks are a requirement once inside the establishment. The only exception would be if the client brought a snack but must put the mask back on once done eating. Coming to take the classes is by appointment only except for the mosaic making. All the areas are clean and neat and looks take care of with a lot of love. The water fountain is inaccessible; however, clients may bring in their own drinks.
For those people who want to come out of their homes, but are still weary of the situation, Joe Picasso’s is a good choice to consider because all classes are by appointment and Katie and her associate are keeping client numbers down in order to observe utmost safety and distancing.
Besides being inspired by the art itself, Katie draws inspiration from helping people. Katie says, “Definitely when someone comes in and they have an idea of what they want to do, but they don’t know how to do it, the best feeling is helping them figure out a way that they’re confident doing it”. She wants to help them bring their design to life. This makes her very happy.
At Joe Picasso’s, Katie has also worked with the community, serving The Girl Scouts. One of the badges the Girl Scouts must earn is a Pottery Badge. Katie will have a presentation on the different types of clay, their history, and impact on how its improved life for humans. The Girl Scouts will then paint their pottery of choice and this help the girls earn their badges with the bonus of learning the importance and history of pottery.
Katie Karcheuny wants the public to know that she understands people are nervous to come out of their homes. She feels her space is a save haven from the public places that cannot observe safety. At her location, she is practicing safety first and wants people to be able to come and create with peace of mind, knowing they are not in a crowded place. She wants people to be able to share their artistic side with them.
“Art is something relaxing, liberating, soothing and you have complete control. You’re the one that determines the outcome of your project. It is a chance to unplug from the screen, TV, or the internet and just create something!”. You might be an average worker, and maybe you’re not in the world of art, but at Joe Picasso’s, you’re not just an average Joe!
Anamaria Moreno is an Elementary school teacher. Born in Costa Rica, but mostly raised in Venezuela, Ms. Moreno came to South Florida in 1996 where she has resided ever since. She graduated from Lynn University, with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She has taught in the classroom for 18 years, most recently teaching the first grade for the past seven years. Before becoming a teacher, Ms. Moreno was involved in volunteer work with the Child Life Specialists Department at Miami Children’s Hospital. She also served as member of the Board of Directors for “A Caring Pregnancy Center” in Miami. Most recently, Ms. Moreno has taught at an elementary school in Oakland Park. Ms. Moreno also teaches ESOL to Adults in Night School. When Ms. Moreno is not in the classroom, she enjoys baking custom specialty cakes, face painting, and enjoys creating Arts and Crafts.