Many of us have been to art gallery hops where people wander about, looking at various works of art while sipping wine and discussing art with their friends and often the artists themselves. Sometimes you may even get to watch an artist in action – my artist friend Mike Elsass comes to mind. But it is typically a passive experience that demands little of the audience other than their attention (and for those with disposable income for buying art – their wallets). What if you went to an art studio and enjoyed the same cocktails, the same social interactions and the same inspiring art – but YOU and your friends (and fellow gallery hoppers) were the artists in action? Laura Carter, a UD grad and Dayton area native, imagined such a scenario after getting laid off from her art teaching job of twelve years in Vandalia due to a levy failure. Soon she and her husband Andy did some research and fell in love with this idea for a social art studio as a way to move on and do something different for their growing family (son AJ was on the way). While popular in the south, the concept did not currently exist in Dayton so they decided to open their own version in Centerville called RAISE YOUR BRUSH – opening next week!
As their Facebook page states, they “offer no-pressure, step by step instructed paintings and projects for an unique evening out with friends. Popular beer, wines, and drink of the day specials will be available to help get the creative juices flowing!” According to Laura, “we’ll have nightly events that are open to the public. Anyone can register for these through the calendar on the website. There is a featured painting for every evening session, and there will be step-by-step instructions that are very easy to follow. No experience is needed to paint at Raise Your Brush! Canvases are pre-sketched to make it simple for everyone, even beginners, to create a masterpiece.”
Raise Your Brush can host private parties – for a birthday, retirement party, wedding shower, or even just a girls’ night out. They do private parties for kids as well, minus the alcohol, that feature kid-friendly paintings.
“What makes us different from other paint and wine places,” Laura continued, “is that we will have crafting nights as well. Having taught art for so long, I realize the endless possibilities! There are also so many people who are into DIY, especially with the popularity of Pinterest. We want to help people get things off of their pin boards and into their homes!”
“Fundraising is what I am especially excited about. We want to have all sorts of groups come in, from non-profits to PTOs. Groups will get $10 donated to their organization for every person registered. You will have a great time, go home with a unique painting, and help out your community as well!”
“So many people are intimidated to do painting or crafting themselves because there is so much involved. You have to go to three or four stores to find all of the materials, you don’t know how to use the tools, there is no one there to answer questions, it’s difficult to set aside time… and the worst part: set up and clean up! We take care of all of those problems (all of the materials in these sessions are included), and we put a drink in your hand as well!”
When I asked Laura about their future plans, she said, “we want to offer more sessions as our business expands, and be able to hire additional artists. I would love to have ‘upcycle’ furniture for sale, as I enjoy reworking old chairs and other furniture into contemporary pieces. And we want to offer more crafting sessions as well. If our business takes off like we think it will, we would like to open another location somewhere in the northern Dayton suburbs.”
For those interested in checking out Raise Your Brush, be sure to go to their open house next Tuesday 1/29 at 5:30-8:30. They’ll have free appetizers for guests and the bar will be open for business, plus they’ll be giving away $10 coupons for any sessions in February. The official opening for Raise Your Brush is Thursday 1/31, and regular sessions run $30-$35.
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