Bringing the paint party to you

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 3, 2016

By Amanda Raymond

Michelle Allen and her friends decided to have a girls’ night out. Classes in which attendees can paint a picture and have a little wine are popular right now, so Allen and her friends decided to go to Wine and Design, a group painting and wine tasting class in Cornelius.

Allen said she had a good time but driving an hour to get there put a damper on things, not to mention the price.

But the night did spark an idea: instead of a group of friends driving out to an art studio, why not bring the party to them?

Allen decided to start ART2U, a business that brings a painting party to a person’s home. For $25 per person, a group can have a finished painting in usually two to three hours. Allen provides all of the materials, from the paint to the canvases. She also takes care of cleaning up at the end.

Allen has an art degree from Pensacola Christian College and started out teaching art classes at private elementary schools. She is now a full-time teaching assistant at Hurley Elementary School. She also gives private lessons in her home and teaches at art camps.

It was Allen’s friends who actually gave her the idea to start the business.

“They said, ‘Well, … we don’t know of anybody who does it this way, go to the home,’” Allen said.

She knew Wine and Design also brings art classes to the home, but it was not their main focus.

“I said, ‘Yeah, that sounds like a great idea because most people have enough space that they could do it at their house and it would be convenient,’” Allen said.

Allen created a Facebook page to see if her friends and family would be interested in the idea. After about 3 months of having the business up and running, she has brought paint parties to numerous homes and organizations in the area.

“As I’m just getting started and working on my portfolio, I’ve let the clients kind of tell me what they want to paint if they’ve seen or they like something specific or a theme party,” she said.

Allen made it a point to offer the paint parties at a cheaper price than most other art studios.

And because she is used to teaching art to elementary school students, almost everyone at the party can walk away with a piece they are proud of, even if they don’t consider themselves artistic.

“One of my favorite things is to see people who are not artistic, or feel they’re not artistic, can produce a really great painting that they’re proud of and they want to hang up in their home,” she said.

Allen creates paintings based on the client’s preference. She breaks down the painting into a step-by-step process so that it is easy for people to follow.

“It’s all a matter of following instructions. And if you have a great teacher teaching you what to do, then you actually are capable of it,” she said.

Allen said that although some perfectionists may not be totally satisfied with their painting, all the rest walk away happy with their work.

“Sometimes they discover that it’s something that they really love, and that makes me excited that they either want to schedule another party or they want more lessons because they’re like, ‘Wow, I didn’t know this would be this fun and I didn’t know I was this good at it,’” she said.

To schedule a paint party, contact Michelle Allen on the ART2U Facebook page or call 704-738-4869.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.