It’s no secret your kid is all about painting, drawing and anything crafts. Need proof? Just take a look at your refrigerator door. Give her an outlet for this creativity outside your home at Smartypants Art Studio, a brand spankin’ new children’s art studio that offers a rainbow rice pit, washable paint, flubber and a boatload of other art materials to budding sculptors, painters and anyone else who wants to put pastel to paper. Read on to discover why this new Overlook hot spot is worth checking out.

Kid doing art

photo: Smartypants via Yelp

The Layout

Art supplies were well-organized on our recent trip on a quiet weekday afternoon. Kids can fill up their trays with paper and small objects (stickers, ribbon, cotton balls, etc.) and get down to the business of working on their creative projects. Crayons, pastels and watercolors were all made available with a smile.

As you first walk in, you’ll see the “rainbow rice” pit to your right, with multi-colored rice grains ready to scoop, and small plastic toys to cover and uncover. (Be sure to take your shoes off.) Then, there’s the light table, where little ones can manipulate and play with plastic colored circles and other interesting objects that allow light to shine through. Two toddler-sized work tables near the front had flubber and sculpting dough.

An easel and painting wall are ready for paint and brush. There’s even a kid-sized mannequin that serves as a permanent and communal art project. Stations are set up with a different activity each day, so frequent visitors won’t get bored. On the day we visited, kids were very excited to make their own bracelets out of beads and pipe cleaners. Foam dishwashing wands were set into paint pans on the floor to make unusual paint brush strokes on oversized paper.

Smartypants interior

photo: Smartypants via Yelp

The Seating Arrangement

A seating space just past the front desk is an inviting place for parents to hang out, while the open floor plan allows them to keep an eye on their artists. If your little one is happily working independently, you might even (gasp) get a moment to read or work for a few minutes.

painting of dinosaur

photo: Kelley Gardiner

The Clean-Up 

Because paint mixed with kids is always messy, all the paint at Smartypants is mercifully washable. Smocks and aprons are available, too. There’s a sink in the main space for hand washing, as well as a kid-friendly bathroom that has a changing table and a step stool for the sink, so you won’t have to pick up a paint-covered toddler to wash their little hands.

The Road Ahead  

The building is still coming together a bit. A classroom, set apart from the open studio by a hallway, will soon hold classes and workshops. An outdoor area is still being constructed, but will soon have a waterworks, mud kitchen and plenty of opportunities for fun in the sun. Workshops and classes focus on particular materials or methods: watercolor, pastel and collage are scheduled.

The Details & Cost

Open studio runs during all hours, so feel free to drop in during normal operating hours. One visit is $12 and includes all materials. Punch cards and memberships are available as well. The studio is closed on Tuesdays.

5512 N. Montana Ave.
503-477-8884
Online: smartypantspdx.com

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Have you visited Smartypants yet? What did you create? Let us know in the Comments!

—Kelley Gardiner