Parents of artsy kids intimately know the joy (and crazy messes) that go along with creative kids. But planning all those art projects takes time and energy that’s (honestly) sometimes hard to come by. So when you find an art studio with kid-friendly projects, you do a little dance of joy. When you find one with a French flair and some seriously cool projects you don’t see everyday, you go there. Quickly. And that’s just what you’ll find at Art Maniac Studio that recently opened in Bellevue. Looks like you can say oui to an art-astic time with the kiddos!
Barbara and Celine, Art Maniac Studio owners, are two ladies who know how to make you feel welcome in their studio. From the cookies they set out (often French madeleines) to the projects they design, it’s all about the bienvenue. And although they’re not art teachers (they’d be the first to tell you they don’t have art degrees, nor is their instruction based in formal theory), they are two crafty, creative women who love sharing their talents with others. It shows in their studio. They’ve taken crafts from their native France and combined them with their own sense of style to create a chic space ready for artistic pursuits. And the best part? They’ve got classes for everyone! You’ll find classes for kids four and older, adults, even moms with babes in arms (you create while the minis play). So whether you’re looking for a playdate for the kidlets, a birthday bash (or baby shower) venue, or a mom’s day (or night) out activity… Voila! You’ve come to the right place.
Of all the things we love about the Art Maniac Studio, the range of art projects and classes available top of our list. Sure they’ve got the garden variety painting, mosaic, and collage classes. But they also have sewing, polymer clay sculpting, jewelry making, and wire work. And they approach each project with little artists in mind, figuring out what interests them and then going from there. Some of the projects kidlets have been working on recently include sewn slippers, wire and tissue ballerinas, elephant pillows and sweet little collaged candles for the petit-est Picassos.
Classes for preschoolers take about 1 hour, and expect 90-minute classes for older kiddos. Each class needs at least four participants and costs $35. Or you can schedule a month’s worth of weekly classes for $90. Registration online is available, but you can also call to check on class times and space. So call some friends, and head on over to play on the art side for a little while!
The classes for parents are just as cool as the ones for kids. But there are two that really stand out for busy parents. The first are the mom and baby classes. Art Maniac has a small play area set up in the front of the studio where babes can play while parents collage or sew. And since the kids are right there where they can see you and you can see them, things are pretty relaxed. So call the gals and get your next mom playdate booked. It’s time the moms played.
Then there’s the DIY cardboard furniture. This is actual, functional furniture made completely from cardboard. And it’s hands down the coolest thing you will make this year. The pieces are surprisingly durable and strong (not to mention deceptively light), and they will give you bragging rights for years to come. No carpentry skills necessary! Making cardboard furniture is a work at your own pace project. You pick the piece and the design elements, and then schedule studio time to get it done (check their calendar and pricing online). Barbara and Celine will walk you through the process and help make your vision a reality. This one’s best left to the adults, and plan on spending between 10-15 hours before your piece is finished.
Getting to the Art Maniac Studio requires a little faith in Siri. Trust us, she knows where she’s going on this one. The studio is on S.W. 27th Pl., between N. 134th and S. 136th Ave. in Bellevue, in a sea of auto body shops. Art Maniac is in suite 3D1 in a cream-colored building on the north side of the lot. It’s a little hard to find but well worth the look!
Hours: Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.–7 p.m.; Sat., 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Do you plan to try a class at Art Maniac Studio? Leave a comment below and let us know how it goes.
–Allison Sutcliffe, words and pictures
Picture of cardboard chair courtesy of Art Maniac Studio