If Willie Wonka’s factory made art instead of chocolate, it would look a little something like the Meri Cherry Art Studio: a magical place full of wonder, and a colorful array of things kids just want to grab. With every supply imaginable at their fingertips, your budding artists will blossom at Tarzana’s brand new art studio for kids.

Meri Cherry Wide Shotphoto: Neil Apodaca

It’s All About the Process
The moment you set foot in the bright, sunlit art studio tucked into a tiny valley strip mall, your little artists’ faces will light up with anticipation. Even the grown-ups can see that this is someplace really special. This is no ordinary art class. Meri Cherry (yes that’s her awesome real name!), the studio owner and former grade school teacher, has created a welcoming space that’s all about getting kids to think creatively and use their imaginations.

Meri Cherry Artphoto: Neil Apodaca

The walls are lined with shelves that hold all kinds treasures that young Warhols can use to create a masterpiece. At Meri Cherry’s Art Studio, however, it’s less about what you make, than how you make it. All the classes and events are process based, which means they are focused more on the experience of creating art than the completed piece itself.

Meri Cherry Suppliesphoto: Neil Apodaca

Get Set To Create
There are a few different ways artists can get their creativity flowing at Meri Cherry, starting with their Open Studio hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m.-5 p.m. For a thrilling two hours kids can create to their heart’s content, choosing from the bountiful shelves full of beads, paint, glue, glitter, markers and so much more. They can pick a base to start their project on, which can be anything from a piece of cardboard or wood, to a ceramic tile or even an old record. Grab a bench seat at one of the tables and watch as they paint and paste away. There’s so much to explore and use, you’ll have to tear them away at closing time. A single Open Studio visit is $20/child, or you can purchase an open studio pass at $100 for six visits.

Meri Cherry Record Artphoto: Neil Apodaca

The studio also hosts weekly classes, starting with a Toddler Art Playgroup that offers all kinds of messy sensory fun for walkers up to 3-year-olds. There are process art based classes for 3- to 4-year olds, 4- to 5-year olds, and 6- to 9-year olds. All of the classes are one hour and offered in five week sessions for $175. The Toddler Group is a four week session for $100. There are also Pop-Ups for $35 on Sundays where the whole family is invited to work on a project together. Classes for older kids are in the works, but they do currently offer a Mini Craft War event for 10- to 15-year olds.

Meri Cherry Toddlersphoto: Neil Apodaca

Art For All Ages
After watching tiny tinkerers joyfully working, you might feel a twinge (okay a whole boatload!) of jealousy over wanting to get in on the creative action. Luckily Meri Cherry also hosts a Mom’s Night event where you can get your own hands messy making an adult art project. One glance at the Meri Cherry Instagram feed from the first event and it’s easy to see why this already popular monthly gathering of moms sells out fast; if you’re interested sign up ASAP.

Meri Cherry Classphoto: Neil Apodaca

Know Before You Go
You can sign up in advance for all classes online, or just drop in for Open Studio. Parking is limited in the lot, so try to arrive early or you might be able to snag a spot on the street. The studio has a restroom and cubbies to stash your things. There is also a small lobby with benches and toys at the front in case you need to take a quick snack break while your kids get crafty.

19237 Ventura Blvd.
Online: mericherry.com

Do you have a favorite art studio, or home art project?  Share your craftiness in the comments!

Shahrzad Warkentin