By Silene Flores Espitia
“Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.”
Art is a universal language. It shows no discrimination in color, gender, or age. It heals the sick, strengthens the weak, and restores hope in those that have lost. Art teaches the intangible gifts of creativity, self-expression, and individualism, and no one knows this better than Silene Flores, owner of her very own ceramic painting studio, A World of Color.
Located in Burbank, A World of Color is a fun interactive shop where kids and adults of all ages can paint their very own one-of-a-kind ceramic piece. The store first opened its doors in March of this year after sprouting from an idea Flores had while pregnant with her first son in 2004. Now, eight years later, Silene can finally say that her vision has come full circle.
After moving to the States from El Salvador in 1997, Silene met her husband, Ovi, and settled down to start a family. They invested everything they had into a satellite communications company which they began out of their garage. As the company took all of their time, Silene was not able to act on the idea that sparked so long ago until now. “It was my husband’s dream and I supported him through it,” says Silene, “and now he is supporting me in mine.”
As a child, Silene’s mother (Luisa) actively enrolled her daughter in art classes during school vacations. She learned how to work with metal, wood, colors, and textures, but it was the art of ceramics that stood out to her the most. “With painting ceramics you can do anything you want. With some creativity and imagination, you can make it look out of this world.”
A World of Color began as a mobile business in 2011. Originally, Silene would bring unpainted ceramics to birthday parties and events to be painted on site, but it was her dream to open her own store. This came true less than a year later. “Our whole family changed,” says Flores, who is so thankful to be a working mom who is able to bring her kids to work with her. Alessandro, age 8, truly benefited from his mom’s passion. “Painting has really helped him to focus his attention. It helped him tune in to the piece he was creating and really concentrate,” adds Flores, who also knows how important it is to introduce art at an early age, like she is doing with her other son, Ovie, age 4.
Art therapy has extraordinary benefits in children – especially children with disabilities. Research has proven that early art experiences can have a positive influence on a child’s learning and development, and the earlier art is introduced into a child’s life, the better. Crafts like painting and sculpting are known to develop a child’s spatial acuity and play a key role in cognitive, motor, language, and social-emotional development. In children with disabilities, art brings excitement and gives them a creative outlet without any boundaries, therefore increasing their confidence and concentration. But more importantly, art strengthens their imagination. As Albert Einstein said, “To know is nothing at all; to imagine is everything.”
Not only is art a means of therapy and child development, it is also a cornerstone of family bonding and tradition. Ceramic painting is a craft that is fun for the whole family, and it appeals to people of all ages. “When I sit down with the kids to paint, it is good quality time,” says Flores. “We have a conversation. They tell me what they are thinking. We live pretty busy lives, and to have them sitting, away from distractions like TV, really helps us to bond.”
Not only are the ceramics at A World of Color works of art in the making, they are also treasured keepsakes and heart-felt gifts. Everything that is painted in the studio is something special. The pieces are made by the kids. There is no one to tell them what colors to use, or what techniques to try. Their creations are unique, one-of-a-kind pieces of art. “When my kids paint a ceramic, whether it is their handprint on a plate, or a silly animal, I always keep it close to my heart. When they are all grown up I will look at those pieces and reminisce about those times I spent with them painting,” adds Flores.
A World of Color is open to anyone who wants to walk in and paint, or you can reserve the store for a birthday party or other event. Silene has made sure to stay active in the community and is a participating store in the Ladies Night Out event which occurs on every last Friday of the month. The Magnolia Park stores stay open from 6-9pm, offer discounts, have live music, food trucks, and special guests. Silene has even hosted a Salsa night, a live DJ, ceramic painting contests, and a kid’s Halloween photo shoot in her store. She is always looking for new and fun ways to entertain and delight her customers.
Silene dreams of one day expanding her business into a full ceramic and pottery studio, and in April of 2013 she will be one step closer when she welcomes in a pottery wheel and a new ceramic making class. A World of Color is very affordable compared to other ceramic studios and offers free studio days on Wednesdays for kids and for everyone on Fridays. Her inventory of ceramics is always growing and changing, so there are constantly new products being added to the shelves. You can visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/aworldofcolor to see tons of samples. To learn more about Silene and A World of Color, visit the store online at www.aworldofcolor.org.
A World of Color
3421 W. Magnolia Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91505
Open Mon-Sun 11am-7pm