Consider this: there may be a fairly good artist within you yearning for expression. How often do adults get to engage in art projects? When was the last time you painted a picture? Unless you were born a gifted artist, pursued it throughout school and were lucky enough to land an artistic job, the answer to that question may go as far back as elementary school. For some of us, that’s many years ago, maybe even decades ago.
Perhaps you actually created some good artwork back in school and enjoyed art lessons, but no one gave you the proper encouragement to pursue it, so now it seems like a past life. In any case, whether you think you stink at art or suspect you might excel at it, there is an opportunity for adults to access their inner artist here in Chicago.
It’s called Arts n Spirits, conveniently located in Bucktown. It’s about a ten-minute walk straight north from the Blue Line Damen train stop, and on a nice day, it’s a very pleasant jaunt past shops and eateries and bars, with fascinating people-watching. The whole neighborhood is a hub of alternative life teeming with artists and the artsy.
Arts n Spirits fits into this area aptly. As you enter, you notice immediately the walls covered with lovely paintings that you—yes you!—can emulate. Blank canvases are set up on easels ready for class, beckoning you to participate. Check out their calendar. There are several scenes to try your hand at painting, from simple to not-so-simple nature to festive martinis or margaritas to famous Chicago scenes like the skyline or the “Bean.” If you tend to be impulsive, Arts n Spirits tweets their up-to-the-moment schedule.
Some of their events include alcoholic beverages and food, like their recent 2-year anniversary/Cinco de Mayo celebration; wine tastings are paired with a class painting wine bottles; “Mimosa Mornings” are BYOB. Attend with a large group for a great time as you discover together talents you didn’t know you had and have lots of laughs. Or do it with your mate. There are also family days.
Everything you need is provided, including smocks in case things get messy, though Arts n Spirits advises you wear something you might not mind getting paint on, even if the acrylic paint does wash out. Class is fun as your teacher puts up the picture you will be painting and replicates it while instructing, along with music. For example, at a recent Mimosa Morning class, Eiffel 65’s “Blue” was inspirational while the class learned to paint a blue sky.
You don’t have to paint what’s being taught either; you are free to paint whatever you want and are encouraged to vary the colors if you wish. The range of emotions while doing this, especially for the novice, can span from fear to amazement to giggles to exclamations of “oh no!” to immense satisfaction. Don’t worry either; if you really mess up, the teacher is willing to help fix it for you.
One thing you might want to think about is how you will transport your artwork when you leave. Although it dries quickly, it would be ideal if you have a vehicle handy, because it’s not easy wielding it on public transportation; and beware if it rains while you’re trying to get your masterpiece home safely!
At the front of the store, Arts n Spirits sells unique jewelry, chic purses and other one-of-a-kind accessories with prices ranging from moderate to surprisingly affordable.
You may discover you’re awesome at art–but whether you are or not, an excursion to Arts n Spirits is an excursion of the spirit, back in time to art class and a chance to play again and create with a sense of freedom adults don’t often get to enjoy. Highly recommended!