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February 22, 2020
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From a garage to an authentic art studio

  • Lisa Russell Photo by Irene Hilsendager

By: Irene Hilsendager
July 19, 2019

A very artistic little girl was born in San Luis Obispo that would burst into the Rohnert Park art scene years later. She graduated from Thousand Oaks High School and also attended Cal Poly. She lived in Grants Pass, Oregon for ten years and then followed mom into Sonoma County.

Lisa Russell had been through a divorce, decided to re-marry and have a blended family with two daughters and three step-children. Since she wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and creativity was just bursting from her, she decided to start a day care at home and turned the garage into an art center for afternoon classes.

Lisa took classes at Santa Rosa Junior college in the evenings, studying art physics and arts therapy which she considered just plain fun.

After taking art therapy classes at Sonoma State University and doing bookwork for some businesses but still taught art classes in the afternoons, Lisa took a leap of faith and moved to the industrial section of Rohnert Park. For ten years, Russell stayed at the warehouse teaching and since children were coming in droves to get the laid-back type of classes Lisa taught, she thought she had it made.

Then the recession hit, and Lisa was terrified, with a family to feed and a business that was shrinking. Parents had to decide just where art classes would fit for the family.

Lisa kept checking where she could find a building big enough and yet be affordable. At the time Cross and Crown School was also declining, and their middle school building became vacant real estate.

Lisa gathered up her courage and decided to speak with the church officials and a deal was struck to rent three buildings; a garden and play area. Everything was fenced in which made it a safe and beautiful campus directly across from the Rancho High School.

Scribbles and Giggles is known as the art center. The business fills the main building and the two smaller buildings are extensions for the older and more advanced students, which are called Inspire Studio and Mega Moth Studio.

Life has not always been kind to the creator of Scribbles and Giggles. In 2011 Lisa was diagnosed with breast cancer and after having three surgeries and being on meds for five years she informed me she is going great but the 50-60 hours a week are slowly wearing her down. If anyone has management training in an art center, go talk to Lisa.

Scribbles and Giggles has four full-time employees and ten part-time people. Many are graduated students that have come back to help but many have moved on to other careers. The amazing teachers that did come aboard were all prior students and were mostly Sonoma State University Bachelor of Fine Art graduates, all bringing their artistic brilliance to a very excited group of children. Lisa offers summer and spring camps, birthday parties and workshops for the young and old to enhance a studio experience.

Russell has such a kind heart and wants to give back to the community and one such project is giving private paint lessons to adults. Have yourself a paint party!

Call Scribbles and Giggles for more information at 707-285-2002 and see what Lisa can offer to make this a new experience for your children and yourself. Ask Lisa for a tour and see the exciting faces that are taking classes. Scribbles and Giggles is located at 5435 Snyder Ln., Rohnert Park. There are many new residents in Rohnert Park and Cotati which may want to dabble in the art world and Lisa Russell can make your experience a memorable time.