When visitors arrive for the Dec. 13 grand opening of Art with Anna's new location at 420 N. Cassady Ave., they'll be greeted by a front door wreath made of colorful paintbrushes.

When visitors arrive for the Dec. 13 grand opening of Art with Anna's new location at 420 N. Cassady Ave., they'll be greeted by a front door wreath made of colorful paintbrushes.

This artistic flourish is owner Anna Kuenzli Sokol's way of not only marking the holidays, but putting her personal stamp on the space that she's long thought would be ideal for her art school and supply store.

"This has always been the spot I wanted," she said.

Sokol said she plans to maintain her original space at 2831 E. Main St. for the time being, but the new studio on Cassady will allow room to grow. She sees the area as an up-and-coming, centrally located hotspot with plenty of traffic to provide visibility.

"To me, Cassady is the next place to be in Bexley," Sokol said. "It's right off 670. It's much easier to get to than Main Street."

While renovating the space, Sokol maintained remnants of its former use as a gas station and repair garage. Three garage doors with multiple windows provide ample light for the space that she converted into a large, open classroom and art studio. Visitors will also notice a sign she salvaged from another previous occupant, flower shop Lagniappe.

"There's something special about this building," Sokol said.

A Cincinnati native, Sokol graduated from Capital University with a bachelor's degree in art education. She subbed in the Bexley, Pickerington and Upper Arlington school districts while working nights at popular Bexley eatery Giuseppe's Ritrovo, which she said helped her build contacts and forge relationships.

"I was creating community in Bexley," she said.

In June 2009, Sokol began offering a series of summer camps and after-school classes under the name Children's Art Studio. Her customer base grew through word of mouth and in April 2012, Sokol launched Art with Anna as a full-time business.

At the new space on Cassady, Art with Anna will continue to offer classes for children and adults and special events such as Wine Your Art Out!, in which adults can sip their favorite wines during an evening of art instruction.

"I'm always trying to bring in different artists, make things exciting," she said.

The Dec. 13 grand opening, which will be held from 4:30 to 8 p.m., will include a ribbon-cutting with city officials and an open house with food and art activities.

Sokol said she and her husband, Randy, a Bexley native and business broker, appreciate the positive feedback they've received so far from customers and neighbors.

"There's a sense of togetherness and support and community," she said. "I feel like they just won't let me fail."