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The City Journals

West Valley City company brings art instruction to the web

Oct 05, 2021 10:26AM ● By Darrell Kirby

Shahar Boyayan, right, founder and president of Curious Mondo, hosts live-streamed art and craft classes at the company’s studio in West Valley City. The instructor is Tremaine Fenton of Heart Beads Jewelry in Murray. (Courtesy Curious Mondo)

By Darrell Kirby | [email protected]

It’s been said that art can help relieve stress and generally bring out talents and self-confidence people didn’t know they had.

A small West Valley City company is helping cultivate this artistic expression.

Curious Mondo offers free internet classes to teach various arts, crafts and hobbies like painting, sculpting, glass art, macramé and jewelry-making. There are even self-improvement sessions to help people mold their mind and body. 

“We do 52 courses a year, one every week, and every single week is a different topic,” said Shahar Boyayan, founder and president of Curious Mondo. She shares the work with her daughter and co-founder, Nashlah Boyayan. 

While plenty of art classes are held in community, recreation and senior centers, Curious Mondo is unique because its sessions are webcast from a studio with a host, usually Shahar, and a trainer. People watch, learn, and submit questions online as it happens. Boyayan said a typical class reaches 3,000 to 4,000 participants across 40 countries. Live classes are rebroadcast soon after for people who work or are in different time zones. 

“It’s a very engaging format. People can learn and have fun at the same time and ditch the concept that you have to be told what to do. It’s more like a mentor,” Boyayan said. 

Another benefit of a live presentation is that if an instructor makes a mistake while showing how to do a project, he or she can show how to correct it in real time since there’s a good chance students will make similar errors.

“That’s a key difference from an edited video they can watch on YouTube with the perfect end result,” Boyayan said. “Life happens while the art is happening so it brings the same kind of problems that they (students) face at home.” And those issues can be addressed with live interaction from everyone involved. 

Most of the students are female, 40 and older, but there are men taking part, too. All ages are welcome (however, the courses might be too advanced for younger children). 

While individual live classes are free, Curious Mondo earns revenue by selling lifetime access passes to all courses so they can be viewed any time on demand. Social media and word of mouth help spread the word about Curious Mondo. 

“We are a very small company, so we don’t spend money on advertising. It’s a very grassroots approach,” Boyayan said. And perhaps a life-saving one, too, for people stuck at home during the peak of the COVID pandemic. “When that happened, we did a whole week where we were talking to people about how to keep their mind engaged and not fall into being depressed.” 

“We have tons of testimonials where people said we saved their lives because we made that lockdown period bearable for them, because we gave them something where they could laugh and engage,” she said. 

Classes are held Monday through Wednesday from 9 a.m. to noon, mountain time. For more information, visit www.curiousmondo.com