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.
Priyam Mehta is a young creative artist who joined Art1st in May 2015. She helps coordinate programmes, mentors teachers in Art1st Art Education Programme and conducts artworkshops. Prior to joining Art1st, she worked on two books on Indian artists – Blank Canvas, a book on the artist PrabhakarBarwe and Sonata of Solitude, a book on the artist legend, V.S. Gaitonde. She also managed the project ‘Spaces in Transition’ for ArtO2 (Art Oxygen), an independent art organization.
Priyam completed her Master of Fine Art from Rachana Sansad Academy, Mumbai in 2008 and has five years of design experience. She enjoys travelling, experimenting with new art materials, and listening to music.
Artist Mentor (Education)
Gopa Trivedi is a Delhi-based interdisciplinary artist. She is inspired by the seemingly insignificant details of everyday spaces, and her works are attempts to address social and individual angst. Gopa has trained under traditional miniaturists in Jaipur and completed her Masters in Visual Arts (Painting) from M. S. University of Baroda in 2012. Her works have been part of several group shows.She had her first solo exhibition, ‘In Pursuit Of Silence’ at Art Konsult, New Delhi in 2015.
She has received several awards and scholarships, including the UMISSA Scholarship for residency at the Beacon House National University,Lahore (2014), the Nasreen Mohamedi Scholarship (2011) and Jairam Patel Award (2010). She has also been involved in the Children's University of Gujarat and has illustrated several picture books for children. Gopa assists Art1st regularly in holding workshops in schools and universities.
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.
Sales & Ops Coordinator (Art1st Publications)
Suparna Prakash is a postgraduate in Information Technology and is currently pursuing her Masters in Psychology. In her private time, she is involved in the development and implementation of life skills education in schools. She strongly believes in helping students enhance their learning capacity to the fullest. She is an advocate of every type of transformative learning which helps children improve their thinking, social, and emotional skills. This is what attracted her to Art1st as she identified with the foundation's vision.
Her passion spills into everything she undertakes. She has several years of sales and marketing experience under her belt, both as a professional and entrepreneur. She lives in Manipal where she spearheads programmes, not only as a life coach and educator but also a neuro-linguistic practitioner in the local community.