I don’t know if you’ve been to our about page yet where you might have learned a bit about me and why I founded Smart Art, but today I decided to share more of the story and my journey that lead me here. I’m going to start the story from the beginning so if you’ve already read this part, please bear with me. When I was about five years old, in my first art class in KG 2, I had the most amazing art teacher that was the reason why I fell in love with art and decided I wanted to grow up and be an artist just like her. At age six, my best friend in the first grade, her mom had her own business; she was an interior designer. I was so impressed by her and what she did, especially that it was such an artistic profession to me at the time, that I decided I wanted to grow up and be just like her; an artist and entrepreneur.
All through school, I loved art and was determined to go to art school when I finished high school. I also wanted so bad to take private art lessons, since art classes in school didn’t teach us much and back then we didn’t have the option for an extracurricular activity in the form of art classes. My parents, however, couldn’t find me a tutor, so the only practice I could get was to pick out pictures and copy them, but it wasn’t enough, I wanted more.
I graduated from high school with honours and had my choice of colleges to go to, and I chose to attend the American University in Cairo. Once again, my dream to study art surfaced and I wanted nothing more than to join the visual art department. I started to ask around for the requirements, and that was when I found out I had to submit a portfolio of my work before I can be accepted. I didn’t have a portfolio, I didn’t even know what it was back then. I started thinking maybe I didn’t have what it takes to make it through art school. That, coupled with my dad’s persuasion that I study something more sensible instead, lead me to major in accounting with a minor in economics and for a couple of years, art took a back step to my other academic pursuits.
My junior year in college, I had the opportunity to study modern art history, which I did and as a result, I fell in love with art all over again. That experience was one of my most memorable in my four years and I still wish I could find someone who could teach me about art history the way my professor in that class did. Fast forward to graduation and work, my career took me on very different paths than what I had always imagined for myself growing up. For ten years after I graduated college, I worked in tax consultancy, sales and marketing, freelance writing and export management until I finally gave it all up to pursue my dream of starting my own business; an art school.
All through the years after college, I’ve never given up on wanting to learn how to draw and paint. So, I joined many art classes in many different places all over Cairo. I learned a lot in some courses, wasted a lot of money and time in others before I realized I wasn’t learning anything and searched all over the city for a place where I could learn not just how to paint, but all about the great masters, the art of ancient civilizations and much more, but my search didn’t turn up anything. That’s why when I started Smart Art, I knew exactly what, as a student, I didn’t want in a class and what was missing. I’ve combined my experience from my years in business with my experience as an art student to try and provide something different, something special at Smart Art.
I wanted the classes that we offer to be well rounded, to be like the classes I always wanted to take but could never find. I wanted the same quality of education that I felt I missed out on when I didn’t go to art school, but with more flexibility to suite a busier lifestyle. My vision for the place has always been about quality art education, one where anyone can and always will learn something new from every class they attend.
So from day one I’ve been learning, studying, researching and trying my absolute best to make this place the art school I’ve always dreamed of owning. For me, the best thing about owning an art school is being surrounded by so many people who are passionate about art. They inspire me to want to learn more, to do better, as an artist and an entrepreneur, nothing brings me more joy than watching one of one our students finish and sign an artwork of which they are very proud. Or when a parent tells me just how much their children talk about what they learn in class or how much they look forward to coming every week.
Those students inspire me probably more than they will ever know. They make me want to get into that studio and learn and create more beautiful artwork, just like they do. To me, if I can influence one student, help turn them into the artist they were meant to be, then I’ve accomplished my mission