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About Us

What We Do

Joana Lopez, Buford art studio owner teaching child art classes

After teaching art, theater, and Spanish to K-8 graders and adults for more than 20 years, Joana Pratt López opened Art for Life in Buford in 2017-- only a mile from the Mall of Georgia.  We’re happy to have a place to help you bring art into your life.


Our art studio is designed to help teach beginners in painting, drawing, or sculpture, as well as budding artists. No previous artistic experience is required to participate in our parties or classes!

Children love our after school program, which offer opportunities to unleash their inner artist and, in certain classes, to learn Spanish, as well.

Our camps--which we offer during Winter, Spring and Summer breaks--are a blast! Adults can also learn with us in our workshops, where you can work with paint and canvas or work with cardboard, and our corporate and team building events are a great opportunity for business owners to bring their employees together to work on something creative and fun. 

art party at your own location of your choice
art class and party in Buford

Every weekend we offer Artsy Parties, or "Paint 'n' Sip" events, and once a month we also offer a chance to Paint Your Pet! Guests are welcome to bring their own food and drinks, and we provide all art materials as well as plates, cups, ice and bottle openers. If you're interested in throwing your own Private Artsy Party, whether in the studio or offsite, we would be happy to help you celebrate a birthday, a new job, an anniversary or new engagement with a group of your friends and loved ones. You can find an array of possible projects in our online gallery or come to us with an idea from your own imagination.  

art Palette

We can guarantee that if you walk through the doors of Art for Life, you will have fun while creating — and enrich your life with art!

Who We Are

Joana Pratt Lopez, artist and studio owner

Joana Pratt-Lopez

Owner & Artist/Teacher

Joana's art career began in Colombia, her birthplace, which led to her starting various companies – including one that used puppets for telling folktales in schools, and another that made Mardi Gras-style floats for the annual feria – a Mardi Gras-style event in her home city of Cali – and furniture, with a technique she developed using recycled cardboard.


Since arriving in the US in 2001, Joana has continued her love for teaching and art, working in many Montessori schools, directing a nonprofit program for youth at risk, and using Lango, a curriculum teaching foreign languages to children through stories, music, and theater.  The adventure continues today at Art for Life in Buford, a family-owned studio which she operates with the support of her family!.

In addition to Artsy Party "paint n' sip" events and after-school programs, Joana also teaches a wide array of multimedia art courses, including ceramics, woodwork, wine glass painting, and costume-making. Art for Life is also the only bilingual (Spanish-English) art studio in Gwinnett County, as well as offering art programs for children with behavioral and learning disabilities.

Virginia's Portrait.jpg
Virginia Lago
Virginia is a professional oil painter/ teacher who specializes in creating Pet Portraits and Still-Life paintings.

Virginia, Lago is an experienced industrial designer and artist with over 30 years of teaching experience. Virginia specializes in animal art and her work can be found on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube under Virginia Lago Art.

With Virginia, "you will learn to make artistic decisions and add your style and handwriting!". 

Jae Montano, artist and instructor at Art For Life in Buford
Jae Montano
Certified Bob Ross oil Instructor®

With a serious passion for painting, Jae specializes in landscape and floral oil paintings, utilizing Bob Ross's painting techniques.


Jae believes painting has the power to make you happy and she loves sharing that experience with others. What Jae loves the most about teaching is showing people that anyone can paint while having a fun and enjoyable experience! Her technique is all about making you feel at ease and confident with your brushstrokes. Remember, there are no mistakes, only happy accidents! 

This wet-on-wet oil painting is for all beginners. There is no need for drawing. You just need a canvas then you’re ready to create your world. Every time you paint will find success!

Jae is now the only certified instructor through Bob Ross Inc. in this area of Gwinnett Co. and Art for Life in Buford is excited to have her join us!

Ja Yean Yu 
Botanical Colored Pencil Artist/Teacher

Ja Yean Yu majored in museum education in graduate school in Korea and worked at the Seoul Museum of Art for nearly a decade, where her job included going to schools and exposing children to art.  Yu also has training in art therapy. She moved to the U.S. in 2020 and has been teaching botanical drawings to seniors in Korean churches for two years. 

Vashti Nguyen, artist and instructor in Buford

Vashti Nguyen

Illustrator & Comics Instructor

As an illustrator and comic artist, most of Vashti's professional art is digital, she equally enjoys traditional art-- in particular oil pastels and watercolors! She has a wide range of experience teaching grades K-12. What she loves most about teaching is inspiring her students to think creatively and to grow more confident in their abilities. She aspires to teach not only the fundamentals and technical skills but also appreciation for art by exploring different art mediums, artists, and eras from around the world and across time.

Julia Olteanu, artist and instructor in Buford

Julia Olteanu

Paint & Multi-media Instructor

Julia has been a part of the Art For Life program and studio for four years now! Charcoal is her favorite medium, but she loves to work with children on many different levels with her art instruction.  She plans to minor in art during her upcoming college years. Julia is terrific with children of all ages and especially early-childhood ages. This year, she's thrilled to work with younger kids as she will be majoring in education. She's looking forward to a fantastic year with all of you!

In the News

GWINNETT DAILY POST | Holley Calmes | MAY 24, 2024

Buford's 'Art For Life' brings international students together through creativity.

children art classes during COVID


Sole Latina art studio owner in Gwinnett gets creative after losing 80% of business during pandemic.

art classes featured in the Gwinnett Daily Post


Buford art studio embraces Latino population with Spanish classes for children, art for adults.

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