by Les Goldberg
When the grandkids are visiting, a popular summer getaway for Southern California families is thePalm Springsarea desert. Yep…the heat may be on but the resorts have pools, waterslides and lazy rivers, golf is cheap, and restaurants are plentiful and kid-friendly.
Most resorts offer activities for children, and Artists-By-Design, based inPalmDesert, specializes in creativity. Headed by Don Swarm and aided by Lin Russeau, the couple showcases poolside pottery and canvas painting for kids.
Since 2006, this little business has mushroomed into providing numerous desert resorts—Marriott Desert Springs Villas, Marriott Shadow Ridge, Westin Villas, Rancho Las Palmas, La Quinta Resort, WorldMark—with creative activity for kids.
With a business background in marketing, Don’s the driving force for expansion, and properties hosting the activity now includeMarriottNewportCoast, La Costa Resort inCarlsbadandHiltonMissionBayinSan Diego. They also hold pottery painting workshops at the Childrens Discovery Museum of the Desert in Rancho Mirage.
Don, 67, calls himself ‘semi-retired’—he knew he needed some focus when it was time to give up the stress of travel and full-time marketing management. He readily admits to having zero artistic talent—he relies on Lin for that! Lin (“will you still need me, will you still feed me”), 64, claims that her ‘talent’ was discovered when Don recruited her to paint sets of pottery samples for each location…and she’s been painting ever since. In addition to being a Beatles and Motown fan.
Kids choose from an assortment of pottery pieces (bisque), and use acrylic, water-based, non-toxic paints in multiple colors and glitters. Most pieces are either banks or boxes (Lin likes function), but a few of the most popular items are neither—the skateboard, the mermaid, the fairy. The finished masterpieces are not fired, but spray-glazed and ready for the painter in 10-15 minutes.
Originally begun as a seasonal business, with peak periods being summer, holiday vacations, and Spring breaks, the couple was contacted about offering a similar activity in the fall and winter for primarily adult guests…and the concept of painting on canvas was born.
In select locations, canvas painting is now offered to all ages in a workshop format—painters choose from a variety of images which are transferred onto an 8×10 canvas, and painting assistance is provided by the workshop leader. The results are amazing, and the activity helps nurture a confidence in any age painter.
Don and Lin agree that one of the best benefits of their business is working directly with the kids. Many families return each year, and the parents or grandparents comment about how the day’s projected pottery painting activity was the topic of their breakfast conversation. The kids will proudly recite a list of pottery painted in previous years, and that they still have them!
While they can’t personally be at each location for the events, Don and Lin have the help of an awesome and mature staff who conduct the pottery and canvas painting activities using the methodology of Artists-By-Design.
After all, as Don says, this is a retirement business!
Pottery-to-go is also offered for birthday parties or other events. Visit the website at http://www.artists-by-design.com/ for more information.
Les Goldberg, APR is an award-winning, experienced journalist and public relations practitioner. His firm, Les Goldberg Public Relations, is one of Southern California’s pioneer public relations agencies specializing in high technology and consumer electronics.
Throughout his career Les has shared his knowledge and experience as a part-time professor for the marketing and business schools at several Southern California universities, including UCI, Chapman University and California State Universities in Fullerton, Long Beach, Los Angeles and Dominguez Hills.
Today, in addition to his agency and teaching responsibilities, Les is a columnist for senior publications, including his popular “The Gadget Geezer” column which appears in Senior Reporter, Not Born Yesterday, Life After 50, Examiner.com and OCActiveSeniors.com. As a full-time journalist, he was a staff writer for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, Glendale News-Press, Culver City Star-News, Stars & Stripes Europe, OC Metro, OC Home & Outdoors and Digital Photographer.
Among the companies that have benefited from Les Goldberg’s brand of public relations include Doctors Telehealth Network, AST Research, Ashton-Tate, US Robotics, Phoenix Technologies, Odetics, MAI/Basic Four, American Home Theater, Inland Technologies; Freedom Innovations, Flex-Foot, Incline SoftWorks, USA Wireless Inc., D-Link Systems, Bell Micro, Seiko Instruments and Etak, Inc., a division of Sony.
Les holds a Certificate in Public Relations from UCLA, bachelor’s degree in journalism from California State University, Northridge and accreditation (APR) from the Public Relations Society of America where he served two terms as president of the Orange County chapter and member of the PRSA National Board of Directors. A past winner of the chapter’s Distinguished Service Award, he has been frequently honored for his achievements and contributions to his profession and his community.
Visit Les’ site at www.LesGoldberg.com