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Meet Ana Miro Herrans of The Artsy Wagon

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ana Miro Herrans.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Ana. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
The Artsy Wagon has been an idea many years in the making, which mixes all of my passions in one company.

I was raised in Puerto Rico, by an Early Childhood educator specialist warrior mom called Aida and a Mechanical engineer hardworking dad called Carlos, and with a big sis that is literally (and by the book) a genius called Aidy. Needless to say, we were NEVER bored; that was not a word allowed in our vocabulary. I always had great science and math teachers thanks to my sis and dad, and was connected to the arts thanks to my mom.

Due to the fact that my mom had chickenpox when pregnant with me, I was born with an overall delay in most of my developmental skills. My mom did not waste any time and put me into every therapy she could from an early age. Surprisingly made the process a very fun and easygoing one, even when for her it was very hard. I took vision, speech and occupational therapy weekly for years and was even given up on my speech as if I did not have a “cure”. I was also EXTREMELY hyperactive and had lots of trouble concentrating (I still sometimes do). I was not able to study on my own or read on my own till I was 12 years old.

I do not tell my story often because of the stigma it can bring with it, but I do when I need to explain my love or ALL things art. My mom introduced me to art and dance classes from a very young age. Anything to help me concentrate and re-direct my high-energy onto something productive and fun. To this day, I say that the arts saved my life and completely molded me into the person I am today. Since little I made it my life goal to get as much training as possible in both art, theatrical and dancing techniques, cause I always knew that I was meant to be an art educator and help people reach a better version of themselves through art.

I attended a Specialized Art High School (La Central High) and earned a BA in Theater Arts with a minor in Special Education and Dance Education from the prestigious University of Puerto Rico . Through College, I was a cheerleader for three years and then coached for two, and was part of the University’s Traveling Theater group, where my love for makeup flourished. The arts became my way of life, helped me surpass all stepping stones and shaped me into the balanced person I am today. The arts, and lots of traveling I’ve been able to do through the years, made me a great performer, able to speak in front of many, gave me tools to concentrate, it made me a crafter, a builder, a problem solver, and expanded my creativity 200 folds. Not only did I take every art class and dance class I could get my hands in, but at 13 years old, I also started studying energy healing practices and techniques, which helped me learn how to meditate, look within and find inner balance by myself.

I started working with children at the age of 14, and have never stopped since. I did it all, from babysitting, to camp counselor, to camp director, assistant teacher in a classroom and dance teacher all before I was 19 years old. I have taught dance, art, theater to all ages for the past 18 years. After college, when I was 24 years old, I moved to LA with three suitcases and a big dream, believing I could make the Arts my life career. In LA, I have been able to dance and act in very prestigious stages and meet wonderful talented people, I’ve been able to teach all ages as well, not without falling and getting up may times. I shortly realized that adulting is hard but that only I could decide where my future lay and how bright it was going to be. After a few rocky years, and learning how to ignore people that tell you “concentrate on only one thing” (that is not a “thing” for a person with ADHD) I was able to go back to school for Special Effects Makeup for film and television, something I had wanted to do since my teens. Now I am both a professional makeup artist and educator and business owner. After years of working community and family events, and art-on-the-go programs for the Zimmer Children’s Museum in LA, I decided to finally venture out on my own…and that’s how The Artsy Wagon came to be. I eventually want to open 1 (or maybe more) locations, but for now Im 100% mobile, taking art experiences, classes and events to wherever they are needed, both to children and adults.

At the end of the day, I believe that you should do what you preach, and I preach to love life, be your best self, let your inner child guide you every so often and do what you love so you don’t work a day in your life.

Has it been a smooth road?
Is there such a thing? I have to admit I had a pretty great childhood, therapies and delays aside. Had a very loving and supporting family and group of friends. That said, I am a slow reader which made college very uphill, and still today is an issue sometimes, and I’m always my worst critic and put a lot of pressure on myself to do well. I also never had the “typical” dancer body, not the height, which brought me lots of NO in dance auditions throughout my life. Rejection is never easy, although it does create character. Seeing that I was getting older, and I might not be able to dance forever, I had to look for options of what my career would look like in the future. That is where education and makeup, which are the two other things I’ve LOVED doing through the years, came into the picture, and although I still dance all I can, my priority and focus shifted onto doing those instead.

In LA everything was a struggle at the beginning. I had no money, got into lots of debt, and for almost two years had almost no friends. I also missed my family so much I spend lots of time being sad. I could not get a well-paying gig and had to rely on getting a “normal full-time job”, which I did for almost five years, to survive and get my affairs in order. That just held me back from auditioning and getting gigs almost totally cause I did not have the time. At one point, I had a full time, a part-time and took night class for 15 months! I had PTSD for six months after, from the stress and the lack of sleep. My life started getting on track when my sister helped me get organized to get those debts in order, and when I met a group of Puerto Rican people in LA that has become my family and my support system far from home. I also met and have been able to work with artist, educators and professionals from all sectors and from completely different backgrounds, that not only became my friends but taught me how to open up my mind and my heart a bit more every day. As uphill as it seemed at some points, having to rely on myself to get to where I am, has made the process such an educational one for me. I believe everything happens for a reason and decided to analyze and learn from things instead of sitting and crying about it for too long.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We love to take art to wherever it’s needed. We specialize in creating artsy experiences in in-home or outdoor settings, turning any space into an art studio.

We do a few things:
– In home and virtual art CLASSES for children ages 3-12
– In person and virtual artsy EVENTS like birthdays, special occasions, fundraisers, team building, etc, for children and adults.
– Art activity kits for purchase to do at home, materials and instructions included.
– In home 2-3 hr artsy programs/camps for ages 2-10

And Coming Soon – caretakers workshops and summer in-home camps.

We are a rather new company, we’re turning a year in Sept 1, 2020. In this short amount of time, we have partnered up with organizations like The Music Center, Levitt Pavilion, Lasting Impressions Center, Union Rescue Mission, The Cayton Children’s Museum and participated in amazing events like The Beat Bash, The Very Special Arts Festival and Party Layne events. We create outdoor events for kids and families, and bring the artsy fun. Being able to bring some smiles through art makes our day. I would not have been able to do what we have done without an amazing, super talented group of educators that have helped us serve and create magical experiences for our students. I’m so grateful for these professional individuals that have joined the team. I not only admire their talents but cherish their friendships and appreciate their dedication.

Our biggest triumph this year has been adapting through the pandemic and creating some virtual content to not only survive as a small business but to be able to keep teaching through these hard times. We did classes and summer programs for kids and wine & paint virtual parties for adults, and we just to launch more classes, party options and workshops for the rest of the year. Even during a shutdown, we were able to collaborate with an organization called Afterschool Village and teach some free virtual classes for families in their homes.

Our next big project is getting an actual “wagon” an make this art studio even more mobile, just looking into how to fund this really COOL idea I have, but be assured that it is coming!

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Coming from an island where small businesses don’t survive, and where the arts are not at all seen as a “real job” I would say LA has way more possibilities than other cities. It also is such a melting pot of cultures that I always say, if you cant find it in LA, you probably can’t find it anywhere! LOL The only problem with LA is that it is HUGE and there is a lot of competition.

So what I would recommend to do is
1. GET A CAR! City is too big and moving around with lots of stuff is impossible without a car.
2. Find your audience and try to connect with them prior to starting a business. People react better if they know you first, and not if they feel you are only approaching them to sell them something. Also, word of mouth will be your best friend, so let people get to know you and make real connections…although that is way easier said than done in LA.
3. Find community-based programs and events that could help you connect with people. Promoting is always hard and getting people to commit too. Be open to the idea of working for free once in a while or helping out nonprofits. It is good for the business and good for the soul.

I think that if the city allowed small for profits businesses to provide services in community spaces would be super helpful. If you are a nonprofit, You can use almost any space available to provide services and for free or a very low fee. It is much harder to get a space to teach or sell or promote if you are a for profit business. We have the same or more expenses than a nonprofit, but have to pay lots of more fees, or sometimes not even be allowed to participate, because we are a for profit. Also, if you are getting a space, RENT is so high here. That alone can make or break a business. That is something the city could definitely help with, specially with startups and small businesses.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

My headshot pictures were taken by Juan Carlos Arvelo Photography https://www.juancarlosarvelophotography.com/

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