For the last 15 years, Ashley Watkins, MSN, RN, has worked at the University of Maryland Midtown Campus. When she’s not working in the Perioperative Department, she’s probably involved with her side gig, Little Picasso Events.

She took time to tell us about her side business and how she manages both.


How did you come up with the idea for Little Picasso Events? Why did you want to do this? How long have you been doing it? What areas do you serve?

Little Picasso Events has been in business for almost 6 years. Two lifelong friends decided to mesh their talents to create something beautiful! I am a self-taught seamstress, crafter, and painter. Because I’m really creative and is not easily defeated by new tasks, I also have a keen eye for colors and design. Ashley Fadiora is the co-owner, and is known for her sociable and free-spirit. She loves art, planning, organizing, and has more than 10 years of experience training and facilitating group activities.

Our company was created with the goal to bring family and friends together to create lifetime memories. Little Picasso Events serve all areas of Baltimore City and County in Maryland.

Explain to me what Little Picasso Events is, does, and what ages it serves.

We are a mobile Sip & Paint company offering art activities for children and adults ages 4 and older.

Each Little Picasso event includes a guided painting activity for a theme of your choice. We hope to disrupt technology, if only for a few hours, to promote personal growth and stimulate social skills. We believe technology has put a huge strain on everyday life. The reintroduction to art in this form aids in nurturing talents that technology may limit. Providing opportunities to be creative during structured group activities affords children and families an opportunity to acknowledge and accept the differences in others. This helps with social skill building, communication, and the development of coping skills for our customers.

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Do you find that this is easy to do even while working as a nurse?

Running the business and working has never presented much difficulty.  Painting is therapy. It’s self-care and actually helps to decompress from any stressors presented during the course of the week.

What do you like most about working with Little Picasso Events?

We really enjoy getting to meet so many different people, making them smile, and helping them to create something they didn’t think they could. As a nurse, oftentimes when families come together, it’s not always for a joyous occasion. Working with Little Picasso Events changes the narrative and allows the opportunity for decompression and self-expression.

What are your biggest challenges with this side gig? What are your greatest rewards?

We can be our own worst critics. Oftentimes participants are super critical of their work, or doubtful of themselves even before they get started. Sometimes it can be challenging to help change that mindset. We have all of our participants recite a pledge before each paint session to help boost self-confidence and remind them that whatever they create will be great.

We have them point at their canvas and repeat:

“This is my canvas,
It’s all mine,
Whatever I paint,
It will be just fine!”

 It is extremely rewarding to be a part of helping others create positive memories. We have the pleasure to be involved with many celebrations and events including birthdays, anniversaries, bridal showers, camp activities, conferences, and mixer events.

Michele Wojciechowski
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