There’s not many spaces where kids are actively encouraged to throw paint against a wall.
While coming home to brightly-colored splotches everywhere might be a parent’s nightmare, at Art Works, it’s exactly what owner Chelsea Sherman encourages.
“We’re an artist’s space. When you say an art studio, people think you’re displaying art,” Sherman said. “I want kids to get messy and have fun.”
Sherman, who has worked as an elementary school teacher in the Bellevue School District for the last six years, took a leave of absence starting this summer to get her new business off the ground.
Art Works is located in a business park off 176th Avenue Northeast, and the semi-industrial setting is all part of the plan, Sherman said.
She purposefully painted the floor so kids wouldn’t be afraid to make a bit of a mess. A “splash room” allows young artists to literally throw ideas, and paint, at the wall and see what sticks to a canvas.
Four clay spinning wheels sit behind a low wall, positioned in front of shelves full of pottery creations made by young patrons.
“Our goal, here is really to make art accessible to everyone,” Sherman said.
The studio’s schedule is full of classes for both kids and adults with activities ranging from clay work, art design and ceramics. Adult classes include making resin pours, silk scarf dying and creating ugly sweaters.
But one of the most popular sessions isn’t a class at all, it’s the drop-in studio hours.
During these hours, anyone can drop in, pay $10 an hour per artist, and have free reign over the studio. Any of the activities are fair game.
This is part of Sherman’s push to really get kids thinking on their own and making whatever they want.
“They’re always impressing me with the things they think of to come up with,” Sherman said.
Pumpkin decorating classes are on the schedule for this month, and next there will be Christmas decoration classes on the way.
There’s also a block of time on Friday evenings set aside for parents to drop their kids off for a couple hours.
The studio also does birthday parties, events and team happy hours.
Opening an art studio has always been a dream for Sherman, and since she and her husband live in Redmond, it was the natural place to set up.
“Since I was little, I said that I wanted to open an art studio one day,” she said.
Art Works opened last April, but since Sherman was teaching, she was only able to offer classes during the evenings.
When summer hit, and she took a leave of absence, business started really taking off, and there’s no signs of it slowing down with the long, rainy winter upon Puget Sound.
Sherman said for her it’s a nice change of pace to interact with kids all day without the constraints of a curriculum.
“I love that every day is different,” she said.
Art Works is located at 6825 176th Ave. N.E. in suite A-110 and can be viewed online at RedmondArtWorks.com.