Flagler Artists: Babz Lupoli is an educator turned artist

For the past twenty years, Babz Lupoli has been an artist. Shortly after moving to Florida, she attended an art fair to hand out brochures for Chicos, where she was working. Marveling at the art, she wondered aloud how it was possible to create such pieces. A stranger nearby suggested Babz look it up, reminding her that YouTube and Google exist.
Babz, to this day, does not know who that woman was or has ever seen her again since. But the comment sent her on a journey through art classes and up to owning her own gallery.
If you had asked Babz, as a child, if she had any artistic interests, she might have laughed. The only painting she recalls being hung in her childhood home was a pastel piece from an artist on a street corner in New Orleans. Other than that, it was only posters adorning the walls of her childhood home. Babz’s father was a sales agent and moved the family from the Midwest to the deep south and further to New York and Connecticut.
As an adult, Babz was a career educator. Thirty-two years serving in the Baltimore Public Schools; eleven years teaching first grade, and the rest spent as an administrator. Without realizing it, Babz was mingling the people skills her father taught her as a salesperson and the creativity of a teacher.
Moving to Florida twenty-three years ago, Babz worked in advertisements, before moving to sales with Chicos. More of her creativity was forming in her subconscious as she helped customers accessorize to form the perfect outfit. The serendipitous interaction with the mystery woman happened and Babz joined her first art class.
This began an entirely new and enveloping chapter for Babz. What started as a class became her life for the last twenty years. From the first moment of that class, painting sunsets, oceans, and sailboats, she knew she had the ability. Her experience as a teacher primed her mind to absorb the information quickly. It took a short while to realize she could do this professionally.
“I never had a bad day with art,”she says. “Any mistake you make, you can just paint over it.”
Community was another major factor for Babz’s new career as an artist. She had nine other classmates, and from the start they worked together supporting each other. Using this support, Babz went from joining the Daytona Art League to being a board member for fifteen years, acquiring several awards.
Forever the educator, Babz found herself back in the classroom, aiming to teach beginner art classes. There will always be the love of seeing a student latch onto the art the same way she did, but what also “keeps her going” is teaching new styles to experienced artists.
Babz cultivates the same support she experienced from her classmates. One such way is an art program she founded with the Chiles Academy of Daytona, a charter school for pregnant teens and young parents to finish their education. “Art can take you into so many different areas,” Babz says.
Babz is managing Galerie Elan in Daytona Beach, having previously led Beaux Arts of Central Florida in Melbourne. The website describes it as, “A delightfully eclectic co-operative gallery hosting over 75 artists, from emerging local talent to internationally known names,” which host monthly art walks.
The first Friday of every month, it hosts a new exhibition. October 2023, the website advertises a collaboration with the Florida Women’s Arts Association. There are also options to register for classes to begin your own journey as Flagler’s next artist.
“Try everything, try it on,” Babz says. “It’s how I feel about art, friends, and teaching. Just trust yourself.”