This week’s Meet a Mom is Kathy Chattoraj, the owner of Future Picassos! Kathy’s fantastic art program for kids pivoted during the pandemic from being primarily based in schools/after-school programs to online classes. We spoke to Kathy about this transition, her newest launch – the Pollinator Garden Coloring Poster – and her family life in Greenwich.
Can you please tell us about Future Picassos and your background?
Future Picassos, LLC was founded 8 years ago in Greenwich, CT for my children as an afterschool art enrichment program in public and private schools. Pre-COVID we grew to 25 schools across Fairfield County and Westchester County, NY. I have been painting for 35 years with a BFA from The Art Institute of Boston and MA degree in Decorative Art and Design from The Palazzo Spinelli School of Art and Restoration in Florence Italy. My work as a professional painter and artist is vast; I have done everything from large scaled mural work and decorative arts to in studio contemporary paintings. I live in Greenwich, CT with my husband Partha and two daughters Maya 16, and Asha, 12. I also have two black cats Oscar and Otis. My life is about family, friends and daily practices of painting, yoga and service. I feel honored to share my love and passion for painting, drawing and art history with children and adults everywhere.
We’re so glad to have you right here in Greenwich! Can you share a little bit about your Greenwich life?
My family and I live in town right off of Greenwich Avenue. We have been here for 11 years. It’s a fantastic location close to everything. We have stayed here mainly because of the convenience of the location to the train—my husband commutes into the city. Both of my daughters Asha, 13 and Maya 16 go to Greenwich Public Schools, Central Middle School and Greenwich High School.
What is new with Future Picassos?
Future Picassos has morphed from a in person class experience to a mainly online program. After spending over a year developing an online audience, I felt the strong desire to keep at it. I originally developed the After School Program because I saw a need in school systems while managing this program for the school my daughters attended. Future Picassos grew into this other entity beyond my expectations. The experience of the COVID lockdown showed me how I could adapt grow and change my business and my audience. I also found deep satisfaction in reaching children from everywhere. My audience has grown hugely over the past year to serving children worldwide, digitally.
So great! And what is the Pollinator Garden Coloring Poster?
I developed the Pollinator Garden Coloring Poster from two different avenues of creativity. The first being that I was searching to add a product to my brand developed by me for the public in order to keep my Saturday Morning Program free to anyone who wanted to take it. I was then asked by the Pollinator Pathways organization to spear head a public mural project in Greenwich that was to be across from Greenwich High School. My vision for this project was to have my design painted with the help from the youth from the Greenwich community as an educational tool for learning about Pollinators and mural design. In the long and the short of it, Pollinator Pathways did not choose my version of the project…they chose an outsider with no ties to the community. They told me my design was too pretty. I was really disappointed because I was truly hoping to have that wonderful community experience. But, the next step for me was to turn it around and launch my Poster.
We are working on partnering with a local organization where I will be able to offer scheduled in person classes for Children and Adults as well. This will allow me to still work with the children of Greenwich in a positive way while at the same time keeping my online program. Stay tuned for more information. I am also going to continue to offer Saturday morning classes online for free and add some other courses as well. We will continue to do Birthday Parties and Events and add products to the store. I also have had more time to paint again as a professional artist which is really exciting.
What has been a silver lining of COVID for you, as a mom and also as a business owner?
The silver lining for me is learn to be open, accept change and move on. One never knows what is just around the corner. Have big dreams and cultivate them as they come. Life on earth is very short and it’s important to live in the present moment and enjoy every experience that is put in front of you no matter what the outcome. There is always a lesson there no matter what age.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Yes! We also have a You Tube Channel where I add weekly drawing tutorials! Drawing suggestions are taken from the audience. So, if you have a favorite subject or character, I am happy to create it for you, for you to draw at home! You Tube – @Future Picassos
We love to support local businesses. Can you please share your favorite places to:
Go out to eat as a family: Boxcar Cantina
Go for date night : Miku Sushi
Get your hair cut/colored : Hopscotch
Get your nails done : Cozy
Go shopping for yourself: Greenwich Avenue
Go shopping for the girls: SoNo in Norwalk
Have fun as a family: Hiking and to the Beach