Founder and Director
Ritu Khoda founded Art1st in 2009 with a vision to create spaces and programmes that make the visual arts more accessible, action-oriented and relevant for various audiences. She has published several award-winning art books for children and produced critically acclaimed films. She works with renowned artists and psychologists to develop programmes for children, teachers, educators and lovers of art.
Ritu holds a master’s degree in business administration from IIM Kolkata and a B.A. (Hons.) in Psychology from Lady Sri Ram College, New Delhi. She worked at India’s prominent advertising agency, JWT for several years, before she finally quit to pursue her dream.
Vanita Pai officially joined Art1st in early 2016 although she had been writing children’s books with Ritu Khoda since 2011. Vanita has a B.A. (Hons.) degree in History from Lady Shri Ram College for Women, New Delhi and has obtained a Masters in Communication from Manipal University. Before 2011, she headed content and design development for several web and multimedia projects at Manipal Media Network Ltd. She has a penchant for visual communication design and some of the corporate calendars she worked on have won national and international awards.
Vanita lives in Manipal, Karnataka, with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys outdoor activities and teaches beginner-level Iyengar Yoga.
Researcher and Writer
Likla Lall's winding journey with words has led her to become Art1st’s resident writer, where she composes creative stories for children. She considers herself to be a perpetual student although she has a Masters of Arts, in English Literature. Her learning interests range from dance to web design, and sustainable economics to developmental psychology.
An absolute bibliophile, you're most likely to find Likla in the wonderful Art1st Library.
Meera Kurian grew up in ‘rubber country’ in Kerala. Not one for the outdoors, she was often found with her nose buried in a book in one of the many nooks of her tharavad. She gained an excellent education from Corpus Christi High School (now called Pallikoodam) in Kottayam, Kerala . She admits that the single most influential person in her life may have been Mrs. Mary Roy, the progressive principal of Pallikoodam, who taught little minds to think big.
Numbers too held a certain charm- she went on to study B.Com and undertook articleship for Chartered Accountancy.
She lived briefly in Manipal where she met Vanita Pai. Their casual talks soon evolved into meaningful discussions about education and books. In 2015, when Art1st sought talent for editing, Vanita readily recommended Meera. From her first love of words to one with numbers and now to the world of colour, she hopes that this time around, the words will lead to something greater than colour by number.