Neighborhood: Arlington Park
Neighbor since: 2001
Oliva Marie Braida–Chiusano has an extensive résumé filled with art exhibitions; botanical art commission work; botanical art teaching positions; and both art and business awards and honors. She grew up in New York City and has had a love of the arts from a young age.
“My mother knew I should be an artist,” Braida-Chiusano says. “I would take myself on a subway at 13 and travel down to the Metropolitan and sit there and draw on my sketchpad.”
She received her degree in business administration from Berkeley College, New York. and bachelor’s in business from State University of New York. In 1980, she opened a messenger company with her husband, John Chiusano, in New York. She continued to use her artistic talent in the marketing of their business until they sold it in 1993.
Shortly after, Braida-Chiusano attended an art class at The New York Botanical Garden. “The weather was gorgeous, the classes delightful,” says Braida-Chiusano. “I got hooked.”
She received her certification in botanical art and later studied under master instructor Anne Marie Evans. Since then, Braida-Chiusano has taught botanical art in New York, Vermont and even France. She also opened her own studio, Studio 64, on Madison Avenue and 64th Street in New York. When Braida-Chiusano and her husband moved in 2001 to Sarasota, she began working with Ringling College of Art and Design to create a certification program in botanical art and illustration. Braida-Chiusano has written 12 textbooks and teaches botanical art at Selby Botanical Gardens regularly.
IN HER OWN WORDS:
“It’s a friendly neighborhood, very easygoing and convenient to everything,” says Braida-Chiusano. “Especially to my work; I am only two miles away from Selby Gardens.”