Passion for the Arts

After the travel agency that she worked for closed its doors, Y. Matsui decided to open an art studio in 2003. Not quite ready to take on the financial risk of opening a storefront, she started Art Studio for Kids in the living room of her home, which she had completely renovated into an art studio. One year later, she moved the business to an open space on Fremont Avenue in South Pasadena to accommodate her students and the growing demand for classes.

“We have been here for 15 years now,” Matsui said. “We teach drawing and painting, as well as clay work, arts and crafts, and mixed media. All of our students come here for different reasons. Some do art as a hobby, while others come here to build a portfolio so that they can apply to art school. Last year two of my students applied to the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and they both got in.”

Art Studio for Kids offers both private and group classes, with an average ratio of four students per teacher for younger students and six students per teacher for teens to adults. Instruction is offered to students from the age of three and up. The studio is open seven days a week and offers classes at various times throughout the day. Students can visit the website, stop by the studio or call to sign up for classes.

Many of the teachers that Matsui employs come from Pasadena’s ArtCenter College of Design and they all have degrees and backgrounds in the arts. Matsui also teaches classes and specializes in younger students with special needs.
“We have some students with autism so coming here is like therapy for them,” she said. “When a new student comes here, I sit down with them to learn more about their goals and their purpose for coming here. We’re kind of like matchmakers, pairing students with the right teachers. People like the intimate setting that we offer here and we’re really focused on the individual student. Many of our students have been coming here for many years.”

Matsui also offers seasonal Art Camps that range from half-day to full-day classes three to five times per week, and the space is also available for private art parties or events. Another special thing that the studio does is host art shows, which are open to the entire community so that people can come by to view the art created by Matsui’s talented students that line the walls.

“I love watching the kids when they come here, we have so many talented young students,” Matsui said. “Every student comes here for different reasons. For some it’s like therapy and creating art is a way for them to express themselves. Some of them need somebody to talk to and who can just listen to them. I like to help the kids because I care.”

Art Studio for Kids is located at 1832 Fremont Ave. in South Pasadena. It is open Monday – Sunday. See website for class schedule. For more information, call (323) 308-5100 or visit

Art Studio for Kids Business Spotlight appeared in the print edition of the South Pasadena Review on 10.11.19. Support Local Business.

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Kamala Kirk is a contributing writer for the South Pasadena Review, San Marino Tribune and The Quarterly Magazine. Kamala formerly served as Managing Editor of Beauty Launchpad Magazine, West Coast Editor of American Salon Magazine, and Digital Editor for E! Online. A native of Hermosa Beach, California, she is a proud USC Trojan and pug mom to Wrigley the Pug (@pugofpasadena).