Drink and be merrily creative

A new owner for the new year at downtown 'fun' art center

Class with a Glass owner Lisa Lycan (center, front row) poses with her instructors from left, back row, Nicole Haskey, Kmbris Bond, Skylar Hansford. Front row from left, Stephanie Waterbury, and Jose Hernandez. Photo by Doug Lycan.

Class with a Glass is an art studio located in downtown Wenatchee where friends can come together to take a fun class, drink a little wine and discover their creativity. "We’ve designed our space to promote a relaxed atmosphere. While an instructor leads the class with step-by-step instruction, you get to create your masterpiece all the while socializing and listening to music. There is a great saying for this type of class; it is fun art, not fine art," said Lisa Lycan, who assumed ownership along with the start of the new year on January 1.
Canadian expatriate Lycan has been in "the Valley" for more than five years and loves living here enough to have purchased the art enterprise "for under $50,000." She is currently leasing the massive loft space on the third floor of 10 South Columbia until the summer months and will then have the option to extend her lease if she wants.
"It was a turnkey business, all I did was make it my own, clean, re-arrange, and add a couple new pieces of furniture to the studio," said Lycan. By "turnkey" Lycan includes being the recipient of a huge amount of art supplies and a good deal of wine and beer as well.
She is happy with the status quo, but "In the near future I'm sure I'll make a few changes. For now I just need to settle in and get comfortable with the business," she said. A major and key element of buying the studio from the previous owner of two years, was the fact the business came "with instructions" in the form of a highly qualified staff ready to interact with students in a social setting. Lycan herself is not an artist nor does she have any formal art training, but not to worry.
"I have five amazing instructors, they have their own techniques and preferences (I'm still getting to know them), but when it comes to step-by-step guiding the painters they are very helpful and engage with everyone."
The instructors, as well as Lycan, all have other "real world" jobs, but are perfectly happy donning their creative masks for Thursday through Saturday evenings surrounded by bare bricks and canvas, gallons of acrylic paint, bottles of red and white vino and most importantly, a neon sign perched high on one wall proclaiming "Fun" as the mantra exemplifying the mission of the business.
Lycan has been, and maintains, certified addiction counselor credentials. She is currently a full time office manager for Columbia Distributing company in Wenatchee and performs a similar role in her capacity of owner/manager of Class With a Glass. Perhaps "social director," as one would find on a cruise ship, is more apropos.
"During the course of a night, the instructor along with the host mingle with the painters offering help, support and encouragement throughout the night," states Lycan. The process begins around 6:30 p.m. and continues for about two and a half hours until about 9 p.m. The former British Columbia resident knows the class routine intimately because she and her husband Doug were students themselves last summer. A few months later, Lycan happened to notice a posting on Facebook saying the business owner was "ready to move on." Lycan jumped at the chance to own some of the "fun" and move the business in a direction of her choosing.
"The first time my husband and myself attended a class, he complained the whole prior week. 'I can't paint, I can't draw, I'm not artistic at all', he even tried to talk his friend into going golfing instead. The night came, he was hesitant, still complaining, but once he got started with the help of the amazing instructors the bumblebees he painted came to life! He tells everyone, 'she told me to paint a letter D for the head of the bee, It was great, I'm going back again, I love It'."
She concluded, "think of us if you are planning a party, corporate event, team building or just want a fun date night!" Classes are $39 per person, but large parties enjoy discounted rates and private parties can easily be accommodated in the spacious loft. Class With a Glass is even willing to come to your company office and hold classes there. Lycan and instructors agree that corporations and small business owners should consider the art studio concept for their next team building exercise.
One of the key components to getting "non-artistic" types to open up and blossom into Van Gogh-like masters is for prospective students to focus on one fact, according to Lycan: 80 percent of people who were criticized as children for their art never paint again. Again, there is no need to worry as no previous art training is necessary to take a class.
At the end of the night, the students' confidence is boosted and they often sigh, "gosh I actually did it," Lycan said. The atmosphere of the studio, with its music, libations and socializing is more conducive to going on a date than attending a "serious" academic endeavor. To that end, the company actually does offer a "date night" which is when one artist paints one half of a canvass and another artist paints the other half. The two halves are then joined for a comprehensive work of art.
The term "date night" also serves as a double entendre since the ambiance within the loft-like classroom is genuinely favorable towards meeting that soul mate you've been looking for. For more information on go to classwithaglass.com or email info@classwithaglass.com.

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