The worlds of art
and business entwine for local woman
BY SABRA STAFFORD
Barbara Asher wants people to think of her business Dragonfly Art For Life studio like a gym, only in this format it’s a workout for the creative spirit, rather than the body.
Dragonfly Art For Life is a working art studio that allows individuals and families to explore various art mediums, including acrylic, watercolor, pencil, pen & ink, charcoal and pastels. Membership is $50 per month and $45 for seniors and $30 for children 7 and under and includes some supplies. The studio also offers drop-in sessions for $25 and paint classes for $35.
“We have a very connected group of people here,” Asher says of her core clientele. “There’s always a nice interaction going on and the artists build on each other and get inspired by each other’s works.”
Asher’s experience in art goes back several years. She earned her masters in education and completed her thesis on art education.
“While I was working on the research for my thesis I was finding a lot of information on the healing qualities of art,” Asher said. “When you’re doing art it’s almost like you’re in a state of meditation. Your breathing changes, your focus changes and you are completely mindful of what you are creating.”
That idea of art and healing was something Asher experienced first-hand. Twelve years ago, her sister was diagnosed with cancer and part of her treatment and wellness plan included a weekly art therapy session at the Mistlin Gallery in Modesto. Asher would join her sister and found she got some unexpected benefits from the sessions.
“I didn’t have cancer, but I did have other things going on in my life at that time,” Asher said. “I found those weekly classes to be the thing that I would really be looking forward to each week. It was a time to practice some self-care and it was a beautiful experience.”
Those feelings stayed with Asher long after the sessions had ended and it kept nagging at her that there wasn’t a place for everyone to enjoy the benefits of art. She finally decided she would have to create one herself. A year ago, Asher sold her home and put the money into launching Dragonfly.
“It was a feeling that I could not shake,” Asher said. “I knew I wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t follow through with this. It was a real leap of faith.”
Since opening, Dragonfly Art For Life has evolved into something akin to an all-encompassing arts center, complete with yoga classes, folk music nights, paint and sip classes, and crafting sessions.
For more information about Dragonfly Art For Life visit /thedragonflyartforlife.com.