Jessica Luciano hid her inner artist, for a while. It was sublimated into her day job which, though secure, offered no scope for creativity, no place for the artist she has been all her life. So she took action to see that she and others have a place to express themselves, using paint and her knowledgeable guidance: Creativita.

Billed as “a BYOB painting place where creativity rules”, Creativita – 7502 ½ Madison Street – offers ideas and help with individual art projects, as well as a fun and attractive venue for parties and gatherings of all kinds. Drop-ins are welcome and all materials are provided.

 Artist and founder Luciano studied drawing, painting and photography in college. A school trip to Florence, Italy, changed her life, for it was there she met Massimo Luciano. The international romance that followed led to marriage; the couple lived in Florence for two years. When the children were born, i Luciani returned to live in Elmwood Park. A master’s degree in business helped Luciano segue into a (so far) 12-year business career, but the desire to make art her work was always simmering beneath the corporate exterior.

A native of suburban Milwaukee, Luciano grew up with parents who fostered creative thinking, partly out of necessity. 

“It was different then,” she recalled. “Winters were long and cold, and you had a lot of time. The presents my mom gave us lent themselves to making things. One year, we got stockings full of wallpaper remnants – I think somebody gave them to her – and crayons and glue,” which led to hours of imaginative fun for the siblings. “Of course , it was cheaper than buying a lot of toys, too, but we had such a good time!”

“One of the first things I remember making was stationery,” Luciano said. “I wrote a lot of letters – I was about eight years old then – and I just found pads or pieces of paper and decorated them with borders and lines.” Imagination has already moved into the next generation; Luciano’s youngest taught herself to play the ukulele and will be performing at the studio’s grand opening event Sept. 5. Both daughters will also be assisting in some studio sessions, helping patrons with their chosen art projects. 

The studio itself is light and spacious, with its recessed doorway, exposed brick walls, and a tiled floor resembling varnished barn planks. Samples of paintings are everywhere. Tables ready for convivial groups of painters line the sides of the room. Open wooden shelving displays containers of acrylic paint.

“We focus more on using acrylic because it dries fast, and people like to be able to take a piece home right away, but I have no objection to guiding customers with projects done in oils,” says Luciano.

Also on the shelves are stretched canvases, ready for paint, as well as wine bottles in an amazing array of shapes, ready to be used in a variety of projects.

One item Luciano had fun ordering was the supply of aprons patrons can use to protect their clothing. Some are plain – blue, white, pink – and some have superhero designs.

“I’m excited about these, too,” said Luciano, pointing to a stack of what appear to be old-fashioned tombstones, some with eerie skeleton designs. A few are painted to look as though a creeping layer of mold is beginning to consume them. “They’re made of concrete, and they take paint very well.” Halloween projects are obviously coming soon at Creativita. 

“I looked at other towns,” said Luciano, “but Forest Park offered the most. It’s a great mix of businesses, with so many in the arts.” The ribbon-cutting on Sept. 5 kicks off an evening of refreshments and live music performed by Rory Sullivan, singer and guitarist (with young Miss Luciano playing in between his sets). For more information, check the Creativita website:

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