Barbie Rodriguez has shared her passion for art with children for years, first as a public school teacher, then in her home studio.
Now she has taken it a step further and opened Studio B Artworks, Inc. in downtown Claremore. The old JC Penney building (409 W. Will Rogers Blvd.) is also the home of SheBrews Coffee Shop and the new location of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.
Rodriguez says it’s a longtime goal that has now become reality.
“I love art and I love kids and being able to teach art to kids is a dream come true,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of happy days in my life, but this is truly a season of joy. I wake up every day with a sense of anticipation. It’s just deeply fulfilling to come to Studio B and see what might be created.”
Rodriguez’s own artistic talent was developed as a young child.
“I grew up with an artistic mom. We were always doing something creative; we were never bored children,” she said.
It was the process of creating — no matter what the medium — that Rodriguez fell in love with, from painting and drawing to sculpting, landscaping and building.
“When children — or adults — get the opportunity to be creative, I just think it’s a marvelous thing,” she said.
After living in Hawaii and Costa Rica for many years, Rodriguez said she returned to Oklahoma as a “recycle, refurbish and redo artist.”
“I enjoy taking ‘junk’ that would otherwise be discarded and making it into ‘junque’ — that’s what I call it,” she said. “So we do a lot of that in our classes. That encourages the kids to look around them and think about what they can be creative with.”
That concept is even evident in her home, a 60-year-old cottage she moved from Claremore to the Justus-Tiawah area.
“I landscaped it, put in rock flower beds and even built my own fence,” she said. “I developed it into a cottage in the woods.”
Rodriguez also uses her artistic skill as a tool for ministry.
“I think art is a beautiful medium to touch others’ lives in a way words sometimes can’t, books can’t, counseling can’t,” she said. “I’ve seen it many times.”
Currently, Studio B’s youngest student is 5 and the oldest is 17. Six-week classes are typically held after school and on Saturdays, with some also offered in the middle of the day for home school students.
The new studio’s first art show was held Oct. 26 and was a “wonderful show of community support,” Rodriguez said. She is planning to do a special event with each class.
Due to the large amount of requests, adult classes are also in the works.
For more information about Studio B, call Barbie at (918) 527-5807.