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Painting bar aims to engage new artists, support creative economy
Splash Studio will offer nightly 3-hour sessions in which customers can learn to create their own masterpieces while enjoying a glass of wine. The self-described “painting bar” hopes to tap into the growing desire for experiential environments.
“Splash offers a fun, accessible glimpse into the creative process for people who could never imagine picking up a paint brush,” said founder and president Marla Hahn. “It’s like a typical evening at a bar or tavern – just with acrylic paints,” Hahn jokes.
Hahn studied arts entrepreneurship during her time at the Bolz Center for Arts Administration in Madison, Wisconsin while pursuing her MBA degree. “We spent a lot of time talking about ways to make the arts more accessible. Technological advancements and social media have increased our desire for participatory experiences, so sitting passively in a dark theater is not enough for many of us these days. Splash allows people to become a part of the artistic experience in a way that they never have before.”
The process is simple: customers visit the Splash website, review the calendar of featured paintings, and sign up for their desired painting and date. When they arrive for their session, they receive all of their materials (paint brushes, paint, smock, etc.), grab a drink from the bar, and find an open canvas. As the class starts, they can follow along exactly or diverge from the instructor whenever inspired to do so. At the end of about 3 hours, customers get to take their paintings home and skip out on the cleanup process.
Hahn says that Splash is modeled after similar existing concepts, but it takes the traditional paint and wine studio to a new level. “We’re assembling a team of some of the best emerging artists in the area. With guidance from these talented artists, customers will be able to have unique, immersive artistic experiences. Instead of just putting paint on canvas, they’ll get to learn about the painting, too – from the artist’s motivations and inspirations, to the history and style of the painting. These are all important aspects of the creative process.”
In addition to being a trendy evening locale, the studio aims to be a resource for artists in the community. Hahn plans to devote portions of the 2,800 square foot space as free gallery space for employees, all of whom have ties to the area. “I am deeply committed to the creative economy, and I have always envisioned building a place where people can explore their creativity while supporting the local artistic community. It is exciting to finally see that come to life,” said Hahn.
Splash Studio will open in March 2012, pending liquor license approval from the City of Milwaukee.