Torion Harden

by Classy Chronicles
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BUSINESS / ORGANIZATION:

BE! Creative Arts Center

Atlanta, Georgia

ABOUT THE BUSINESS / ORGANIZATION:

BE! Creative Arts Center provides mobile and virtual paint and dance parties for adults and children looking to have fun, express themselves creatively, socialize, build relationships, and/or enjoy their leisure time. No prior dance or painting experience is necessary. We come to your metropolitan Atlanta area location or share with you virtually via Zoom video technology. You provide the place and the space and we provide the creative part of the party. It’s the “creative” way to have a party.

We focus on the “fun” side of creative arts, not technique. Our instructors guide you through creating your own uniquely perfect painting masterpiece. You choose your own choice of colors and add your own personal touches.

We also provide dance instruction for everyone! From beginner to advanced - we want you to have fun and a great workout with dance. It’s not about what you can’t do. It’s about what you can do. We help make that happen!

Our vision is to positively change lives forever through creative arts. We strive to BE! Creative in all that we do in alignment with our vision.

THE STORY:
The creative arts have always been a part of my life. My mother does arts and crafts and loves to listen to music and dance. My father loved to dance. My son is a visual artist and my daughter is a singer and songwriter. Additionally, I have been a member of various local dance groups, provided choreography services, served as a dance ministry instructor, and was an actor in a few church plays. I love going to concerts, plays and poetry events and listening to music. I have written and self-published two books and a companion journal.

While I chose to have a professional career in IT and leadership for over 30 years, my evenings were always filled with the creative arts.

I knew I wanted to own a business. However, it took me a while to figure out what that business would be. I knew that I wanted to make a difference and provide opportunities for others to do so as well. In October 2015, I finalized my business plan for BE! Creative Arts Center. My small business loan was approved on the first submission and on April 2, 2016, I opened the doors to the public. My colors (orange and blue) were chosen purposefully. Orange is the color of fun and positivity. Blue is a color of trust. I wanted people to have fun with us and trust that we will follow through on our mission and vision.

The first few months were challenging as a new business without a following or a previously established brand. Fortunately, business began picking up shortly afterwards. I went through a divorce later in that same year which required me to pause and rethink my approach to moving the business forward.

I found myself in March 2017 without a facility, so I changed my service model to mobile, where I go to customers at their location. I obtained support from my family when needed.

In March 2020, COVID-19 eliminated the demand for onsite, large group events. I was at a standstill again. In April, I began offering paint kits and virtual classes. This met a high demand for people wanting to find different things to do at home.

After a little over four and a half years, I feel blessed to be able to continue providing creative experiences and serving others. I meet a lot of wonderful people and get to participate and share in a number of special occasions and purposeful causes. And I still find joy in all of it.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS / ACCOLADES / AWARDS:
My proudest moments are associated with testimonials on how participating in our creative experiences have had a positive impact on the lives of others (which aligns with our vision).

I received an email from a customer who participated in a virtual dance class. She mentioned that she was in her 80’s and did not think she would be able to keep up. She appreciated the way I taught the class and thanked me for “renewing her hope”.
Another customer reached out and said she suffered frequent anxiety attacks before she began dancing and painting with my company. She noted how her participation in our classes helped minimize the occurrences and how much better she feels. At the time she had been attending our classes for over a year.
Some of our repeat customers share how they enjoy including our classes as part of their weekly routine and how the energy and positivity keeps them uplifted.

I love turning cant’s into cans and helping people see in themselves what they cannot. I love giving them the confidence to dance and paint. I love helping them realize that they really are CREATIVE and it doesn’t require a specific technique to create and participate in the creative arts. You can truly just have fun with it.

In March 2020, I received the “I Believe” Award from Live, Believe Dream, LLC for moving forward in my purpose, for believing I can succeed as a small business owner and for sharing my gifts with others.

BE! Creative Arts Center remained on Yelp’s “The 10 Best Sip & Paint in Atlanta, GA” listing for every month in 2019 and every month to date in 2020.

Personal LifeShare

ADVICE:
Some of the greatest advice I ever received is:

(1) Be true to yourself. Don’t compromise your values for anyone.

(2) Don’t be afraid to fail. Fail fast and focus on the lesson learned. Learn from it and then do something different.

(3) Feedback is a gift. Ask for it and receive it. When you don’t know, you don’t know. But when you know, it helps you become better.

I’ve used all of these in my business. I opened a facility in 2016, went through a divorce which led me to recreate my service model to mobile (at your location) in 2017. COVID-19 eliminated the demand for onsite, large group services in late March 2020, which led me to expand my service model to virtual (online with your device).

Being agile and creative while remaining aligned with my values, focusing on lessons learned, and accepting feedback from others. After almost four and a half years, I am still here and my business continues to grow. Sometimes a setback is a set up for something better to come.

RELAXATION:
Listening to music – music has always been a part of my life. My mother always listened to music when I was growing up, so it naturally became a permanent part of my life. My first lessons in love came from music. I began my spiritual journey through music. I love instruments and how they come together to create mood, emotions, feelings and rhythms. I also love great lyrics. It’s all so therapeutic to me. I can spend hours listening to and exploring new music. R&B, gospel and neo-soul are my favorites.

Painting – there’s something about when the paint touches the canvas and creates a beautiful piece of art. How the choice of colors creates different feelings. I get lost in painting. Sometimes I’m up all night listening to good music and painting - it’s easy to lose track of time.

Dancing – I love creative movement to music. The words and the sounds just make me want to move. While some may see this as a work out, it is calming to me. Dance can make me smile, laugh, or shed a happy tear. I just go in my dance space, play some good music and dance. I often do choreography in my head while I’m driving in the car and hear a good song and when I get home, I perform the moves I created in the mirror.

RULES/PRINCIPLES:
My current life goal is to “love and live.”

My children’s father and one of my best friends died before the age of 50. One of my mother’s close friends called her one day and told her she had cancer and died the following week. Not to mention a wide range of well-known singers, actors and athletes who have died under the age of 50. I will be 52 this year, and it has really hit home with me that everyday is a blessing and a gift.

We are here to live a life of purpose on purpose. We are here to love and to live a life of love. Love is charitable. Love is giving. Love is selfless and not selfish. Life is not promised, and we never know when our time here is set to end. Love every day. Enjoy life every day. Live every day.

The definition of “Be” is to have life, to live. The definition of “create” is to bring into existence. I think you get the picture.

CONTACT INFORMATION:
404-984-0471

EMAIL:
info@becreativeartscenter.com

WEBSITE:
www.becreativeartcenter.com

GALLERY:

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