We had the good fortune of connecting with Melinda Martinez and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Melinda, what is the most important factor behind your success?
I love teachers like Bob Ross and Mr. Rogers. They inspired the most important factor behind my business and what I believe is the reason OTB stands out. They inspired me that teaching with kindness and joy will allow students to build confidence through using their imagination. I also love to include mentorships and friendships through art. because it extends what the arts truly mean. When we learn about art and music we also learn about life.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
As a child I was lucky enough to have a dad who was an artist and musician. I remember finding comfort in the arts. I didn’t have much when it came to toys or video games but I had instruments and paints nearby. It allowed me find my voice through these outlets. I saw that no matter what I felt, good or bad, I could make it something magical.

I knew from a very young age that I wanted to share that magic with others.

I grew up in a low income area that also had a lot of other issues such as gang related crimes and drugs. Many of the kids in my elementary sadly went on to a life filled with those things. I realized that one huge thing that was missing was the extra circular activities in the arts. I remember they had a classical piano teacher come to our school and give lessons after and during school but it cost money. Most kids could not afford the lessons but would’ve benefited greatly from them. I wanted to learn so badly so I would go ask to use the restroom during class just so I could walk by and listen to the music. I walked slowly to enjoy the melodies floating through the empty halls. Our family was amongst the majority who could not afford the lessons. One difference was that I was still lucky enough to have instruments at home and a dad who was into other styles of music to guide me.

In my pre teens I had a close family friend give my sister and I guitar lessons, free of charge. He taught me how to read music. He also taught me how to play classical and Spanish guitar. This is where my knowledge grew. I am so grateful to him because since I could read and I was able to teach. All thanks to his lessons. Plus, he was a great mentor as well which I now incorporate into OTB’s lessons. Thanks to his generosity my whole life changed and in turn he started ripples that would change the lives of many of my students as well. I have seen those ripples grow as I now have had the honor of watching my students teach with OTB.

In my early twenties I taught at an after school music program in the same area. I remember one of my students dad’s lost his job and he could no longer keep her in class. she was in tears and didn’t want to leave. I recognized the feeling. I remember thinking I needed to start an organization that made the arts more obtainable. Without the arts I don’t know where I would be!

So I decided to create Out of the Box Arts. we provide music and art lessons and workshops for people of all ages. A portion of all proceeds gives back to those in need of sponsorships, foster youth, people with special needs, medical patients and more by providing the healing power of the arts. My goal is to make the arts obtainable for all. And I wont rest until I make that possible. We are building an online presence to reach people all over the world!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I have had many people come visit my area and I would say all of the rivers, lakes, and mountains nearby. I live in Bend, Oregon and there is so much to do and see here all in a small vicinity. I would take them to Spork which is one fo the most popular restraunts in Bend and has incredible fusion food. We would also go on a walk through old mill right by the river and shops. maybe stop for a glass of wine at pastini or va Piano Winery. I love taking visitors to sit by the fire, over looking the river at sunset, while sipping on their favorite drink at Greggs grill. It is always fun to make day trips to the lakes off of Cascade Lakes Highway like elk lake, devils lake, or east lake!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to dedicate my shout out to all of my students past and present. I remember and cherish every single one of you. You have inspired me when I needed it most and reminded me why I worked so hard. As young people who are just starting this journey, please know you are never on that journey alone. You always have me and all of OTB to support you. Many of you have dreams to be teachers, entrepreneurs, artists, doctors, and many other wonderful things. Whatever journey you take, I know you will make a difference. Remember, I see you and all the good you do. I am only successful because of you, and the future is bright with you as a part of it.

Website: www.otbarts.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/otb_arts

Facebook: www.facebook.com/OTBArts

Other: instagram.com/themusicalartteacher

Image Credits
Elvira Van Der Burg Photography

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