January 2014

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ThRIvE POrtrait OF an artiSt Through her Celebrations Art Studio, Rao creates and shares the rich culture behind indian handicrafts through workshops, gatherings and celebrations. POONaM RaO traditiOnal eaSt meetS cOntemPOrarY weSt long hiatus from the arts she's been back at it, with her impressively versatile skills including henna, clay molding, ceramics, wood burning, Indian handicraft, stained glass, painting and more. She often donates her time and talent, and interest in her work has become as high as the passion she feels about it. In 2013, the Sun Prairie mother of two and full-time IT program manager launched Celebrations Art Studio, which centers on creating and teaching traditional Indian arts, often with contemporary twists. "An example is fusing traditional henna patterns with cake decorating—sort of East meet West," she says of her cakes that look almost too beautiful to eat. Rao's drums, candles and plates are now sold in several area gift shops. She also has two local TV shows on Indian art and culture. Crediting her Google calendar, supportive husband and her business savvy, Rao is adding burgeoning arts entrepreneur to an already full life. –Karin Wolf view her portfolio at CelebrationsartStudio or email her at 24 brava magazine | JanUarY 2014 PhOtOgraPhed bY Shanna wOlF POONAM RAO IS BUSY. After a decade-

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