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Casa Grande’s Rising Stars

The heart of our mission at VoyagePhoenix is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of the Greater Phoenix area’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool. Check out inspiring stories from Casa Grande and surrounding areas below.

Michelle Genardini

I am a Southern Arizona gal, through and through. I grew up in Nogales, AZ where my family had been for many years and had the advantage of growing up in a bilingual and bicultural community. There something magical and mystical about the blending of cultures, cities, and countries that provided my life with a richness I can’t imagine getting anywhere else. I attended the University of Arizona and after graduation, pack my bags and move to San Diego! I knew immediately after graduating that I would eventually get my real estate license. The timing just wasn’t right yet. I got my first job out of college at a mortgage company and after a few short years, had worked my way up. Then… BOOM! That thriving market everyone was celebrating came crashing down harder than anything we had seen in our lifetime. I packed my bags, moved back to Tucson, and decided it was time to figure how I could secure my financial future. But there was this timing thing again. The timing just wasn’t quite right! A few years later, I found myself working for a well-known CEO in Tucson. Read more>>

Nichole Kluth

As a professional artist for the last six years and a mother of four children, my heart has been aimed at leaving a legacy and raising the next generation of artists. Where many artists have hid their secrets for fear of losing their place in the art world, it has been my desire to pass on all my knowledge to inspire the world to explore art and learn how to create with the divine hand. As often as I had opportunity to teach, whether it be at my children’s school, private art classes and events, or public classes, both youth and adults, I took advantage of stirring up a passion in others. Eventually that led to me teaching regularly at the art institute I graduated from. Classes quickly grew as word spread and I was teaching over 200 homeschoolers a month and countless others on a regular basis. In May 2019, Eleven teens graduated from nine month long Jr Mastery program that allowed them to meet weekly with me to build classical and contemporary skills as artists who further explored their voice and brand, developed a portfolio, and successfully marketed themselves. In December 2019, as the news spread that the school, I had taught at, was relocating, I knew there would be a void for the students who desired onsite instruction. Read more>>

Prabhs Matharoo

It’s been a roller coaster of a ride, with a lot of twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. I come from a family of immigrants; my dad was the first one from his family to leave his home in Punjab, India and move to Oman to start his own business. Essentially, I grew up in an Indian household while also being exposed to the diverse cultures in Oman. Fast forward 17 years, I was able to move to Tucson to study Architecture at the University of Arizona, through my family’s hard work I had every intention of becoming a world-class Architect. I wanted to design the biggest, tallest and most innovative buildings only to realize that the Architecture world doesn’t work like that After I swept up my shattered, childhood dreams, I started to take an open-minded approach to my education: learn and experience as much as I can and choose what to absorb and use that to define my life path. Oddly enough, having never held a screwdriver while growing up, I had a natural attraction and affinity for building things It was just any other day in our shop, building something for our structures class, my friend asked me if I wanted to start making straight razors with him. Read more>>

Angela Flanagan

I started exploring visual art less than two years ago. Before that, I was a student of hula. I studied under a Kumu Hula (Hula Master) for eight years learning Hawaiian dance, language and culture. I began painting under the mentorship of Guadalupe de la Torre in the Menlo Park neighborhood of Tucson. In a year and a half, she has coached me through five acrylic paintings. One of those paintings is exhibited in London for the Remove The Blindfold project bringing awareness to PTSD in youth and how art is a form of therapy. I enjoy subtle beauty and have grown to understand the extreme difficulty in executing this with grace. This was my challenge in hula and is now my challenge in painting. I have so much to learn, and I appreciate the wonderful community of artists and aficionados in my desert home. Read more>>

Daria Jagersky

When I began massage school, I knew I had made the right decision. I loved everything about massage and saw the great potential in bringing the healing art to the public. I envisioned having my own massage clinic when I was still in massage school. It was in my entrepreneur class that I came up with my future business name and tagline, The Busy Body: specializing in stress relief and relaxation for the busy body! After I graduated, I began work at a local massage clinic where I was an independent contractor, which was ideal as it allowed me to work for myself with some support. I learned a lot about how a small business could be run and made of list of what I thought would work and what I would do differently. Read more>>

Rina Cristy

I’m real big on that we have a choice of the life we are living. You can be a character in someone else’s story, remain a character to yourself, or claim your character – your archetype. How do you brand yourself? What is your brand? What do you keep attracting in your life? Your brand is based on your mission statement, your interest, your “purpose.” That was the mentality I had to get myself into. Actually, seeing myself as the person I admired as a child, if you think about what that person would they do to be where they are, you can make those same decisions. Me as a child: I see myself as a stylist, director, model, actress, etc. I’ve done it all and more. I’ve been everything I wanted to be and will continue to be. Read more>>

J. D. Richards

For my day job, I’ve worked as a structural analyst and systems engineer at a couple major defense industry companies. While some of the design work is interesting, much of my day is spent writing technical reports and other documents. Page after page, and year after year of being stuck in that style of writing began sucking my creative soul dry. I often found myself daydreaming on the job as an outlet. One fall day my wife mentioned to me that a friend of hers was preparing to work on a neat project – she was going to write a novel as part of the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge. The goal is to write 50k words all within the month of November. Read more>>

Corina Richards

When I was a toddler, my mother said I always walked around with a pen in my hand. She would try to give me something else to hold for obvious safety reasons, but she’d turn around and always found me with a new pen in my hand. My love for art has always been a part of me. In kindergarten I painted our dog and that first official school painting still adorns my parents’ living room in a beautiful frame. I grew up in Texas and studied at Texas A&M University-Commerce, where I also worked as a student graphic designer for a marketing department. I earned my BFA in Studio Arts and K-12 Art Certification and spent time out of the country to do an artist residency in Budapest, Hungary. Read more>>

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