The COVID epidemic threw a lot of curve balls at nearly every small business, and those involved in the arts and cultural activities were no exception. Reinvention and sometimes even a fight for survival were the order of the day. Monica Toro Lisciandro, founder of The Viera Studio for the Performing Arts and director of the Black Box Theatre Programme, recognized immediately that the pandemic was taking a toll on her organization and turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at Eastern Florida State College (FSBDC at EFSC), a subcenter of the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF).
At the Viera Studio for the Performing Arts, they pride themselves on building confidence, creativity, and fun! Professional entertainers hold events and workshops year-round for all ages, including cabarets, showcases, and special one-night engagements. They like to say, “When you’re here, the fun never ends.” Through their programs, students can explore various aspects of theater including acting, singing, dancing, stage design, and production. Experienced and highly trained instructors guide them through every step of the process, from auditions to rehearsals to final performances.
“The Viera Studio is a special place to be because of the magic that our families and our students bring,” Monica Lisciandro states proudly. “All of our students and our families are uplifted. When our kids come in, they feel like they are supported and they’re seen, they’re heard, and they’re valued. Because of that, they’re able to excel and feel like they can be confident and truly be themselves.”
“I sought out guidance from the FSBDC because, after COVID, we really needed to pivot for our business,” recalls Lisciandro. “We needed the guidance and the support of the FSBDC and their knowledge in order to be able to move forward and continue our business and continue to be successful in the times we were facing.”
Working with FSBDC at EFSC sub-center director and consultant Robin Braswell and others, Lisciandro took advantage of the full spectrum of the FSBDC’s services: no-cost, expert consulting; business training workshops, seminars and webinars; and access to deep and broad market research databases and resources. “My journey with the FSBDC has been excellent,” Lisciandro affirms. “I’ve been able to consult with Robin about my business. I’ve received data about our marketing, about our website. I’ve been able to access a plethora of trainings that have helped me be able to develop and take my business onward and upward.”
“The FSBDC has really helped our business grow,” concludes Lisciandro. “Our clientele –students from children to adults – has increased. We have reached out to schools in the community, and they are very interested in partnering with us to bring our programs into their school. We have a bigger reach and are able to offer the arts programs to not only the kids who come to our studio but also to the community. My personal experience working with the FSBDC has been excellent. For anyone that’s considering working with them, I would highly recommend it.”
For information about The Viera Studio for the Performing Arts, please visit https://thevierastudio.com/.