Local Artist Finds Success with the help of the Florida SBDC at UNF

Teresa Cook is a Jacksonville native. As a self-taught abstract architectural watercolor artist she has been painting watercolor since 2012. Teresa obtained her BFA from University of North Florida in 2012, in Painting, Drawing, Printmaking. Over the last 10 years, she has traveled to different countries and explored her native city. She has a love for architecture, landscapes, and buildings, which she cultivated during the course of her earlier studies in drafting and design. Teresa has blended these two passions to ultimately create her current business of architectural watercolors. Most of her offerings are created with her mini watercolor abstractions using multiple materials, like pastel and goldleaf which are meant to capture a moment in time without the interruption of people.  

As Teresa’s confidence in her work grew, so did her desire to share her knowledge with others. She started teaching watercolor painting to local children and adults. Her classes became a hub of creativity, where her students not only learned to paint but also discovered the joy of self-expression through art. She is currently working many workshops for next year, both virtually and in-person. With her love of watercolor, she currently participates in two watercolor communities here in Jacksonville, the Urban Sketchers of Jacksonville and First Coast Plein Air Painters of Jacksonville. These two groups have allowed her to meet other artists, bounce ideas, and build a new art community for herself. Teresa's network keeps growing too; she recently traveled to Amsterdam for the 2019 Urban Sketchers Symposium (USK Symposium), and then Puerto Rico in 2021. With all these new experiences, Teresa has parlayed this knowledge to various teaching opportunities. She is an Art Instructor with Duval County Schools, Cathedral Arts Project, and local places here in Jacksonville, plus her workshops are currently held at MOCA, Cultivate, First Coast Cultural Center, or privately.

Teresa’s dedication to her craft and her students caught the attention of the local art community. She applied for a grant with the Cultural Council of Jacksonville to host an exhibition showcasing her love of Jacksonville’s past and present in watercolor. The “See Jacksonville: Past and Present Exhibition”just opened at the Ritz Theatre here in Jacksonville Historic area of Lavilla. “See Jacksonville: Past and Present" is my love of the places in Jacksonville, some gone, and some still here. Some places, I just appreciated because of the architecture and the impact they made to many people around me. The exhibit allows viewers to see various Jacksonville locations the way I see them,” said Teresa. She thought this exhibition would be great for this historic area and be able to showcase Jacksonville in a different way.

Teresa has also become a recognized artist at the local Riverside Arts Market (RAM), where she showcases her tiny art, watercolor kits and more, out of her car. Yes, out of her car! "MINIS in my MINI" is what she calls it. You can find more about this on her website www.teresacook.net as well as other markets around town. So, keep watching for her workshops, exhibitions, events and more! There is more to come from Teresa Cook.

Of her experience with the SBDC over the years, Teresa had this to say; "Honestly, I share my experience with all my friends about the SBDC and how resourceful they have been for my development as a self-employed watercolor artist. I had an absolutely fantastic experience with the SBDC. It’s a gem of a resource that I can’t help but share with them. From the moment I was connected with them, I have seen changes in my growth as an artist, my purpose in creating for different events, and how to better streamline my business.

Russell Goldner and Jaime Sanchez are my dedicated SBDC consultants, both of whom are not only knowledgeable, but passionate about what they do. They take the time to understand my business needs, and their guidance has been tailored to my unique situation. Whether it was developing a business plan, securing financing, or exploring marketing strategies, website development and they have expert advice and actionable steps at every turn.

What truly stood out was their unwavering support. They were there to answer questions, offer insights, and provide valuable resources, even after our initial meetings. The best part? It’s all free of charge! They genuinely care about the success of small businesses, and it shows in every interaction. So, if you’re looking to start or grow your small business, I wholeheartedly recommend the SBDC. They’re not just advisors; they’re partners in your success. It’s an invaluable resource that every aspiring or established entrepreneur should tap into. Trust me, you won’t regret it!"

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It’s (the Florida SBDC) a gem of a resource...from the moment I was connected with them, I have seen changes in my growth as an artist, my purpose in creating for different events, and how to streamline my business better.”

Teresa Cook, CEO — Teresa Cook Art, LLC