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March 20, 2014

Paint, drink and be merry

New business brings art to bars

By Bera Dunau Staff Writer
Cooperstown Crier

---- — Stacey Kellar has brought a new way to enjoy art to the region.

Kellar’s business, Art: Uncorked, combines art classes with the ability to enjoy wine or beer in either a restaurant or private setting.

The genesis of Art: Uncorked came when Kellar was looking for such an experience for herself, having learned about the existence of so-called paint and sip classes. The nearest such classes, however, were in Philadelphia and Albany. So Kellar, a painter who sold her first painting in high school, decided to start her own.

Kellar began by doing pilot classes last fall.

“I kind of just tried it out with my friends,” said Kellar.

Based off the feedback she received there, Kellar started Art: Uncorked in December, and she said business has been going very well.

Art: Uncorked events, called paint parties, are held at bars and restaurants. Kellar walks participants through recreating a featured painting, and two glasses of beer or wine are included in the ticket price.

“We go through the whole thing step by step,” said Kellar.

Participants paint using acrylic paints, which Kellar said have the advantage of behaving like either oil paints or water colors, depending on how much water is added. She also says that the classes are designed with beginning artists in mind.

“I’m really trying to attract … beginner painters,” said Kellar

Kellar painted the paintings used as models for these classes, and she said that the paint parties generally last about two hours.

The model painting that will be used at each event is announced ahead of time, and Kellar said that she selects paintings that she was able to paint in an hour.

“If it takes me an hour, it’ll take everybody else about two,” she said.

Kellar also said that she doesn’t have any issue with people diverging from her instructions and choosing to paint something different.

“I think it’s great,” said Kellar. “I always tell people this is your painting. You get to do with it what you want.”

In addition to these open events, Kellar also hosts private paint parties. She also offers mini-artist parties for children. Although she has not done a mini-artist party yet, Kellar has two booked, and said she was inspired to offer them because she used to organize birthday parties for children when she was a gymnastics coach.

Kellar says that she has taught about 20 classes since starting her business, and that they have become quite popular.

“I’m getting a lot of repeat sign ups,” she said.

She also said that one woman, who had never painted before she took her class, told her she’d gone out and bought art supplies because of the experience. Kellar said that this was pleasing to her, and that another participant chose to display the art she created in her business.

Kellar has three public paint parties coming up: a paint party at the Council Rock Brewery in Cooperstown on March 22, a paint party at Nadius in Endicott on March 27 and a paint party at Cooley’s Stone House Tavern in Cooperstown on April 3. People at the Nadius event will be allowed to bring their own wine, and will receive 10 percent off their meal, as opposed to the two drinks that are usually provided to participants in the paint parties.

Kellar said that the event at Council Rock Brewery has been sold out for weeks, and that the event at Cooley’s is half full.

“They sell out quick,” said Kellar, who did note that the Nadius event was filling slower.

Kellar also said that she had developed good relationships with the businesses that host the paint parties, saying that patrons will often stick around after to order food or purchase additional drinks.

“It ends up being very great for the business,” said Kellar.

Kellar, who works as a privacy specialist at Bassett Medical Center, says that she is not quite at the point where she can do her business full time. She did say, however, that she is available to do private parties any day of the week, and that she also accepts commissions for paintings.

Those interested in signing up for one of Kellar’s events, or who wish to view some of her work, can go to artuncorked.wix.com/paintparty.