June 4, 2016

Interview: Anna Calonje of Little Artistas

Sleepy outer Church Street is getting some new life this summer with the opening of Little Artistas, an arts, crafts and language studio for kids. For reference, Little Artistas was the group that painted the murals at Alvarado Elementary and Glen Park School with over a hundred munchkins. They are also a partner of DrawBridge, a nonprofit organization that provides expressive arts programs for homeless and underserved youth.

We caught up with the founder, Anna Calonje, via email for a brief interview about her vision for the space and what she has planned.

Welcome to Noe Valley. What made you decide to open a studio here? Thank you! We love it here already! We decided to open a studio in Noe Valley while searching for a second location to expand to. We knew we wanted to be in Noe Valley, if possible, and we found the absolutely perfect location.

Tell us a little about yourself and the team… Our team is first and foremost FUN. We like to play, we believe in creativity and freedom of expression. Children crack us up! We love hanging out with them and encouraging them to explore through art. Our team is composed of myself, Anna, and two amazing studio managers, Sofia and Becky. We also have a fabulous assistant, Steph, and the best party planner, Sarah.

What’s you or your staff’s personal connection to Noe Valley? I've lived on the border of Noe and the Mission for the past 7 years, so this is my turf! Our original Little Artistas studio is located in Glen Park, so I've been Noe-adjacent my entire San Francisco career.

On a related note, what’s your connection to Tacolicious – the previous renter that just moved into that the space? And to Little Folkies next door? My connection to Tacolicious is that I really enjoy their delicious tacos and cocktails! I need to be a better neighbor and introduce myself to their fine staff. On the Little Folkies side, I really enjoy the live concerts we hear on a daily basis. Irena, their founder, and I are planning some fun music and art collaborations!

You opened Little Artistas in Noe Valley for the summer – will you also offer classes year round? We will offer classes year-round, six days a week! We also offer fun events, such as date nights and birthday parties, and Summer camps!

What are your favorite local places to visit in the neighborhood? I absolutely love La Ciccia and La Nebbia! I would eat Italian food three times per day if I could. I think I was Italian in a past life. I also love Noeteca for a leisurely lunch!

Bernie’s, Martha & Brothers or Philz? :) Well, I'm ashamed to say this because it's practically blasphemy since I'm Colombian: I don't drink coffee.... EEK! I'll order up a chai at any of those places anytime, though.

Little Artistas
1513 Church St
San Francisco, CA 94131
(415) 493-8603