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Meet Cherene Raphael of The Art House in La Habra

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cherene Raphael.

Cherene, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started The Art House in 1987 with the purpose of supporting children with a gift in the visual arts. My goal has been to acknowledge, support and nurture children’s interest in drawing and painting.. We offer weekly classes for children from ages 4 through high school. The students are taught art history, art techniques and skills that allow them to better express their thoughts and feelings in a visual format. The classes are taught by a teacher who encourages self-expression through a structured lesson taught in a classroom environment. This allows the students to learn from one another and to inspire each other. They are taught the importance of the arts and the importance of their skills as they develop visual voices.

I started the school after volunteering in the public schools and witnessing the lack of quality arts education and the demoralizing affect this had children who were gifted in visual art. I have a teaching credential and a MA in drawing and painting. I started the school as a dream with about ten students. I rented a very small upstairs unit and broke even after two months. My children were my aids and originally my husband did the books. Now we have about 450 students.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It is never easy to raise the flag and tell a community that something IMPORTANT is missing. I had to educate parents before they gave me the opportunity to educate their children. This meant constant conversations, presentations and art shows with minimal support. However, once a student started the program many of them stayed and brought friends. The business has grown from referrals not from advertisements.

There was also a difficult transition when my husband became disabled and no longer did the business side of the school. This became a heavy load of responsibility and learning.

Finally, my middle daughter joined the business and the two of us have happily been running it for the past ten years.

Our best blessing has been our receptionist, Michele Amador. She watches the books and mothers the children as if they were her own. Michele is loved by parents and students alike. We couldn’t do this without her!

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about The Art House – what should we know?
I am most proud of The Art House’s love for children. Our entire staff is child centered and our first goal is to make the children feel proud of who they are and the gift they were given. We address each child as an individual and never rely on computers or electronic devices to do the teaching.

We do not do lessons that are copied from a book. The children learn skills from personal demonstrations and we encourage individual interpretation.

We are known as the art school for children who truly want to learn art. We are the opposite of franchised schools. All classes are taught by professional artists and teachers who grew up at The Art House. The lessons are tailored to meet the students, age, capabilities and desire to deviate from the mainstream. The Art House students think and create with purpose that uncovers who they are.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I have tremendous passion for what I do so work is not work for me. I love what I do and I thank God daily for the gift HE has given me.


  • Classes generally run at $80/month. Tuition is dependent on the child’s age. Our primary goal is to make tuition affordable for EVERYONE.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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