Art Entrepreneur Wins $100,000 Pittsburgh Prize
In November, I wrote about Pittsburgh’s Experienced Dreamers contest for entrepreneurs 45 and older. The former smokestack city offered a $100,000 prize to the out-of-town entrant with best idea for locating a new business, philanthropy, or artistic endeavor in Pittsburgh.
The prize goes to Tess Almendarez Lojacono (right), a 55-year-old artist currently living in East Aurora, NY. She won by proposing to relocate and expand her already-existing Fine Art Miracles, a five-year-old company that teaches fine art classes to residents of assisted living facilities and nursing homes.
Lojacono’s goal is to provide intellectual stimulation for older people and to help them tap their creativity.
“I like to show people that they’re still able to create,” she says. “We’re offering something a little more intellectually challenging for them than painting between the lines, and a lot of them really like that. We have older gentlemen who sign up for our classes who wouldn’t do crafts.” You can read an excerpt of her application for the award here.
For Lojacono, her second act in Pittsburgh actually is a homecoming. A native of Pine Township in the city’s suburbs, she earned a degree in fine arts from local Carnegie Mellon University, and lived in Pittsburgh until 1991. The seeds of her current venture actually were sown back then; one day she stopped at a flea-market sale held by a local nursing home and suddenly had the inspiration to volunteer to make clay sculptures with residents. “They let me move my kiln into the basement, so that we could fire the pieces,” she recalls.
Continue reading this article at Entrepreneur.com after the break!
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