We had the good fortune of connecting with Liz Tomko and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Liz, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Artplay has become a brand in large part because before opening an art therapy business, I was a graphic designer. Understanding the importance of being recognized as a valuable service is key to the success of any business. We are extremely focused on helping the child, but equally as concerned with creating a relationship with the parent. We give out branded gifts to parents each year… such as eye-masks, or tins of tea, or a scented candle, or bath salts, all of them branded with the Artplay logo. The employees are treated very well, so moral is high and they sure their love for the Artplay Way with parents and kids. It has become a place where kids and parents get their needs met (calm environment for regaining emotional strength).
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Artplay art is not created by me or the other 4 therapists, but instead all of art is made by the kids that attend individual Artplay sessions. These kids are seen one-on-one to help them manage their anxiety (regardless of the trigger). We help 200 kids at any given time, and each of them is an artist in their own right. Their art can range from painting on canvas, to building with wood and a hot glue gun, to slime-making, to sewing stuffed animals, putting together a glowing forest bottle, and beyond! We have loads of art supplies (mostly donated) and kids get to create while they share their emotions and we Haley them navigate how to manage negative feelings. There is no other business model like this in Phoenix, or the state of Arizona, or the country, that I have found. We are unique in that we do not diagnose kids and our environment does not feel like a clinical doctors office. Instead, we help kids identify and manage their emotions in a calm environment, without force. A child that needs help building their self-esteem recently said, “You are like my ‘I explore’ teacher.”
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We have the most incredible sports teams and venues, so I would start with that… The Diamondbacks are so relaxing to watch, especially with the roof open. The Phoenix Mercury games are so inclusive that you often end up on the arena floor dancing. And, eating outdoors is an option much of the year… The Orchard being a current favorite place to ‘be’ outside. Shopping local stores for interesting gifts is always fun too, such as Write Ons, Poor Little Rich Girl, and Frances. Maybe a Tour of Frank Loyd Wright’s Taliesin West would be on the agenda. Even pursuing all the fancy car dealerships on North Scottsdale Road is amusing. There is never a lack of things to do in Phoenix.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Artplay Parents – because they trust us to help care for their precious kids Mike Tomko – the supportive husband that helps with furniture moving, internet outages, sweeping the front porches and getting lunch Small Business Association (SBA) – Mike Bull, the Business Coach (specifically) Agave Pediatrics, plus other local pediatric offices that refer to Artplay Christ Lutheran School, plus other schools that refer to Artplay Lisa Litt and other parents that consistently donate supplies
Youtube: Artplay, LLC