Honest Art provides an engaging learning experience that is appropriate for all ages and skill levels, and empowers children to pursue creative growth and realize all the amazing benefits of art instruction. Honest Art's physical studio is a major point of differentiation when looking at other studios, as our studio is specifically designed to motivate kids to express themselves. Honest Art's mission is to raise the bar of art education for children, and to use art as a tool to unlock all the emotional and psychological benefits that can be realized. Honest Art is also committed to supporting the communities we serve through providing scholarships to our services, hiring local talent, discounting our memberships, or investing into the nonprofits that support the communities in other ways.
Founder/ Creative Director
The original founder of Honest Art, Liza Cruz, a designer and professional artist, received her formal training at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. After many years designing clothing for many of the world's top selling brands, Liza decided to fully pursue her lifelong passion for painting, and began selling her paintings at galleries and expos all over the country. When COVID hit, Liza decided not to join the herd of artists developing an ecommerce model, and transitioned into a passion project, teaching art to children. Liza's model for teaching resonated with both kids and their parents, and word quickly spread through Westchester, when Liza soon found herself training other artists to learn her style of teaching. In addition, Liza has also taught at The School of Visual Arts and Katherine Gibbs Design School in NYC.
Liza and her husband, Gabe, decided to open a physical studio in 2021, opting for a large, prime retail location to fulfill Liza's vision for the studio. Liza currently leads the creative team at Honest Art, and is also the visionary leading the business. Despite Liza's significant workload, Liza always finds time to spend in the classroom, as she never wants to feel too removed from the students she built this studio experience for!
Liza's own paintings and work are concentrated in oil and acrylic paints, though also incorporating other recycled materials such as woods, metals, paper and other textures to enhance the depth and emotion of her work. She has also always been inspired by Surrealism, Cubism and Abstract art. Please see the artist's personal website to view her talent here www.lizacruz.com .
Co-Founder/ Business Development Director
Gabriel Cruz's official title at Honest Art "Liza's husband," where he manages the "business side" of the studio and is focused on developing Honest Art into a national franchise. In addition to Gabe's work at Honest Art, he is the co-founder and CEO of Parrot (www.languagetest.com), a leading online language assessment company headquartered in New York, with offices in Kazakhstan and Mexico. Prior to Parrot, Gabe led a three-year successful turnaround effort as CEO of Quesbook, a smart test-prep company. Additionally, prior to Quesbook, Gabe was the VP of Sales and Marketing for Language Testing International, a company he joined early on and through 12 years of nurture and growth resulted in its acquisition by Samsung.
Gabe has been a guest lecturer at Harvard Business School's (HBS) leadership module on three occasions in the past 2yrs. In addition, Gabe dedicates his time and energy to advising non-profit organizations through HBS Community Partners, as well as being an active member of the HBS Angels Association of NY. In addressing other social issues he feels deeply for, Gabe supports efforts towards education, prison and criminal justice reform and the arts, for which he sits on the Board with Rehabilitation Through the Arts (https://www.rta-arts.org/) and is on the Strategic Advisory Committee for GCI (https://www.globalci.org/).
Despite all of these commitments, Gabe is most devoted to his wife, Liza, and his two children, Mason and Tyler.
Senior Art Instructor
Iviana Rexach is our highly accomplished Senior Art Instructor and Creative Director for Special Events. Iviana received her artistic and professional training at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), earning a BFA in Fashion Design with a concentration in Fibers/Textile Design. Iviana has received many design awards, ranging from local to national levels. Iviana currently works with a renown textile company in New York City, designing their jewelry and textile collections.
Iviana works with acrylic gauche and watercolors to achieve a graphic feel to her paintings and illustrations, yet her medium of choice is yarn, creating both knit fabrics and artwork.
Not only does Iviana have a love and appreciation for the arts, she also has a deep care for sharing artistic knowledge with others. Color is her main source of inspiration, which is why her favorite painter is none other than Rothko, the "Master of Color."
Brittany Clifford is a self-taught abstract artist from Westchester, NY. Brittany received her professional training at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), earning an associates degree in Textile Surface Design in Fashion and a BFA in Fine Arts. After graduating, Brittany worked as a Visual Conceptual Designer for many fashion companies such as Alo Yoga, Hugo Boss, and Lululemon. From there, Brittany took her love for abstract art and made it into a career, appearing in many galleries throughout New York City, South Hampton, Arizona, Miami and Las Vegas. Brittany also has a love for teaching and children. She plans to get a degree in Art Therapy to extend her knowledge!
Brittany’s main inspiration comes from the abstraction of nature and movement. Using watered down acrylics and spray paint, she is able to create a dream-like feel to her creations.
“I create not to be seen, but to be experienced. Allowing the viewer to make an honest connection between my work and their own emotions.” www.brittanycliffordart.com
With a love for color and movement, her favorite artists include Sam Gilliam, Monet, and William Turner.