Arts in Lockdown #25: Jana Goldbloom Brody

By Joanne A Calitri   |   April 8, 2021
Jana Brody leading her Paint Jam over Zoom

Jana Goldbloom Brody is a multi-faceted artist entrepreneur, owner of Paint Jam USA, and our local community arts outreach expert. This February she started a position at Leading From Within as their Courage to Lead Alumni Community Coordinator, working directly with its Executive Director Ed France serving both its Santa Barbara and Los Angeles chapters. She is also the Santa Barbara Arts Commissioner 2nd District, a volunteer leadership position serving on its Art in Public Places Committee.

Joanne Calitri interviewing Jana Brody over Zoom

Jana grew up in west San Fernando Valley. She holds a BA in Communications from UCSB and MA in Arts Administration from California State University, Dominguez Hills. After graduating from UCSB, she traveled through Southeast Asia, Japan, Africa, Europe, and Israel learning the local art and culture, where she painted in a hut in Bali and learned Batik with locals in Indonesia. After receiving her MA degree, she worked in Los Angeles at a Melrose Avenue art gallery as a Corporate Art Consultant. In 1996, she moved to Santa Barbara and began working with various public art and community outreach programs. Jana has been a professional artist since 1980, working in acrylic on canvas, silk painting, and up-cycled and found art.

As an artist entrepreneur, community arts advocate, and mother of three, she continually invents new avenues for art and artists. Here’s our interview:

Q. Can you tell me about your position as the Courage to Lead Alumni Community Coordinator for Leading From Within?

A.Courage To Leadis a nourishing program for organizational leaders, and there are no other programs like it. It is not a business or networking center. Here, leaders learn to connect, empower, and inspire one another; renewing heart, mind, and spirit as a peer support group. My role is to work with the program alumni and offer continued opportunities to support these bonded communities and sustain the valuable resource sharing. One specific focus is to reconvene the Leadership Council and support their creative inspirations. Currently there are 195 active Courage To Leaders in the community, started by its Founder and Board Chair Ken Saxon and Lead Instructor/Executive Coach Kim Stokely in 2008. 

And as the SB Arts Commissioner, 2nd District?

I serve on the County Art in Public Places Committee, bringing public art projects to North and South County. We are actively placing public art around Santa Barbara County for people to view during lockdown. Our latest public art sculpture installation is Tom Fruin’s “Camouflage House,” on view at Lake Cachuma through early summer 2021. In both this position, and the Courage to Lead Alumni Community Coordinator, I believe in the importance of relationship building and curating shared resources as the key to personal growth and organizational stability. 

Tell me about being an artist entrepreneur during COVID.

Jana Brody leading Paint Jam USA in her studio

This past COVID year, through job loss and knee surgery, I was forced to pivot as a business owner and grow in unexpected, positive ways, embracing the benefits of social media. First, I created a Facebook group called The Art Salon, a place for like-minded artists and art lovers, and joined entrepreneur FB groups for networking and business building support. Marketing on LinkedIn and Instagram, I continued selling painted pet portraits to the many new COVID pet owners, and reached out to busy realtors in need of new client closing gifts painting commissions of homes and views as a unique offering. 

Next, I figured out a way to elevate life in separation: Gathering friends, family, and coworkers virtually with my business Paint Jam USA. It lights me up to empower others to find their creativity through art experiences via Zoom across borders and time zones. The most popular paint jam theme is the “Painted Affirmations” event or “find your voice in 15 words or less.” This guided canvas painting activity empowers folks to take creative action and feel inspired by their favorite song lyrics or chosen quote with personal paint colors and designs. Pairing right brain – left brain interaction through art allows for personal growth and builds self-confidence. Materials can be purchased directly via a kit on Amazon, or on your own using the supplies list. 

Remote events are enabling previously unattainable local as well as global interactions. Paint Jam USAhosts private as well as Corporate events. Groups range from nonprofit teams, wealth management groups, a haiku writers club, Sassy Healthy FitGirls Night Out to weekly sponsored sessions for Cong. B’nai Brith, as well as paint jamming for 21st, 60th and 85th birthday celebrations. My outreach personal best of hosting 6 states and Canada was recently topped by a call from Romania. The Romanian host invited guests who painted along from Ireland, England and New York as I guided them in art from California. Another uplifting celebration connected 33 people from all over California and other three states toasting and painting together. 

Paint Jam also offers in person art classes, and now with vaccinations and less restrictive tiers, I go to Maravilla and Mariposasenior living centers leading groups of 12 seniors who are artists through acrylic painting landscapes. I will be collaborating with the new owner Andrew Rawls of DIY interactive The Crafters Libraryteaching Silk Painting. I am also setting up Paint Stations at outdoor wine patios such as Uncorkedfor socially distant art experiences. And in January of 2021, my daughter Riva, a senior performing artist at UCLA, and I launched a podcast called, “Arts With an S,”where we co-host and interview guests sharing their inspirational stories from across the arts world. 

How do the arts influence the human condition? 

Arts lift the spirit and create beauty and empowers confidence from the inside out.  

Can you talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion in the arts? 

Jana with her son Judah at Hendry’s Beach viewing Tom Fruin’s “Camouflage House”

Having traveled the world I have a unique perspective on world culture, being married to a deaf man I have an interesting view on inclusion, and as a woman in the arts I understand the need for equity. The world we live in is in constant flux and change, the best we can do as individuals is to put ourselves in other people’s shoes for true awareness. Artists of all backgrounds can act as conduits raising awareness to the importance of these basic tenets through varied accessible mediums. 

How do you stay creative and inspired?

I gain inspiration from the world around me. I am known to interrupt a serious conversation to comment on the cloud formations behind the head of the person talking. I take pictures of the leaf patterns that have formed in the corner of my yard when I am supposed to be taking photos of my new puppy. I stay inspired by collaborating with those around me. Sharing skills, resources, and ideas to move each other personally or professionally forward is my jam; which is the origin of how I named and run Paint Jam USA. 

What is your arts dream project?

Working as an in-house creative art coach for the employees of large corporations such as Amazon, Google, and Wall Street firms creating wellness through art experiences and offering creative virtual retreats is an aspiration. 

What do you want to change in the world right now?

To use a quote from my favorite painted affirmation, “I aspire to inspire before I expire.” Art should be put in buildings, on buildings, sidewalks, parks, and essentially everywhere, making art a part of everyday life, to provide a new lens or artistic curiosity for people. 

How are you giving back/paying forward?

Jana Brody leading a creative art project in Rwanda in 2016

Bringing silk painting lessons to a children’s inclusive school in Rwanda in 2016. The students were busy learning three languages along with the core curriculum, and I was thrilled to share art and creative thinking with them. Collaborating with Executive Director Michael Baker in March to April 2020 and The Squire Foundation, seven Santa Barbara County Boys & Girls Club’s benefited by mural paintings on the interior walls during lockdown. These murals were painted with precautions in place and by one artist at a time at each location. Colorful designs covered large, white walls that surprised and delighted the children upon return to the centers. 

What is your advice for artists and the next generation?

My advice for artists and the next generation is trust your gut when it comes to decision making. Not having a 9-5 office job, since my first year out of college, I thrive as an independent entrepreneur and am proud to advise my three artistic children, and others, to follow their passions and forge their way in the world even if it takes wearing many hats and following many paths to get there. As a creative resource, I hope to inspire others to mix their style of education and life experiences with the goal of impacting lives and empowering others through creativity. 



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