pARTy studio debuts 'social art' in central Ohio
Even if you're a putz as Picasso or a klutz as Kandinsky, you can learn to paint at the pARTy studio.
More important, according to owner Michael Celentano, is that you will have fun in the process.
He opened central Ohio's first social art event venue in downtown Worthington three months ago, and business is good, he said.
Tucked away behind storefront businesses at 679-B High St., the pARTy studio is busy several nights a week and sometimes during the day.
Customers come to paint a picture in a social setting, be it a birthday party, a shower or a girls' night out.
The studio provides the paints, the blank canvas and the teacher, and the host provides the food, drinks and partygoers.
Before the event, a picture is chosen from several that could be painted. Examples are "crazy cocktails," "summer sailboats" and the most popular, titled "curly tree."
In a relaxed, party-like atmosphere, the teacher leads students through step-by-step instructions on creating paintings much like the example in front of them. Although everyone paints the same picture, the final products are as individual as the people painting them, Celentano said.
"It's not meant to be stressful," he said. "If you want the sky to be green, the sky is green."
The refreshments are bring-your-own, and it is not unusual for the wine to flow alongside the acrylic paints, he said.
People may either sign up alone or in groups of two or more for the studio's own events that are held several times a month. A calendar on the business' website lists the paintings to be created on the corresponding day.
Sessions usually are three hours long and cost $35 per person. For a group of 12 or more, the pARTy studio will hold a private party. A party might be an informal group of friends or an organization such as a church, a business or a school.
Bridal and baby showers and birthday parties are the most popular studio events, but the business is just beginning to experiment with all that is possible.
The space is the former Christmas Village. It is wide open and bright and opens onto a landscaped, private patio.
Celentano also rents the venue for such private affairs as wedding receptions.
He also will take the program on the road, as he did recently with the Westerville schools. Seventy-five school employees contributed to a large mural-type creation to hang on the walls of a school building.
The event proved to be a restorative affair at the end of a stressful school year, he said.
Another group of friends and family joined together to create a painting for a woman on her 60th birthday. During her surprise party, they made 27 smaller canvases that they signed on the back and put together with Velcro to form a 6-by-4-foot painting for her wall.
She was surprised and pleased, Celentano said.
Other special events have featured paint-your-pet nights and date nights. Partners were given instructions on how to paint each other, Picasso-style.
People are not meant to become professional artists from the lessons, but many leave impressed with the finished paintings, he said.
"Each party has its own personality. It is amazing to see," Celentano said. "It opens up a whole new world to some people."'
This summer, the pARTy studio has held kids camps. Younger children gather in the mornings, older children in the afternoons. The theme changes each week.
Celentano is a Long Island native who attended art school in New York, studying fashion and interior design.
He is a commercial and residential designer and owner, with his wife, of Cookie Cutters. They operate five of the children's haircutting salons in central Ohio.
He attended his first social art party while visiting his sister in New York. The event was held in a restaurant, and Celentano quickly became aware of what a fun and bonding experience painting could be.
"It becomes a group thing," he said.
Social art has become a phenomenon in other parts of the country, but as far as he knows, this is the first studio in the Columbus area. He said he looked hard to find the perfect site for the business and is convinced he has found it.
Besides the picturesque setting, the location is easily accessible from anywhere in central Ohio, he said.
"We love Worthington," Celentano said.