5411 Nicollet Ave. | Minneapolis, MN | 612-354-3961 | simplyjanestudio.com
We are so excited to introduce you to Nicki, our newest contributor here at NellieBellie! Nicki is a Minnesota mama who goes on crazy and fun adventures with her two littles, and will be sharing some of her favorite places and experiences for you to try with your own children. Check out more of her great ideas at MinneMama Aventures.
Dick and Jane were the king and queen of adventure and education back in the day. They taught us our ABCs, how to ride our bikes or skip rocks across a pond, and schooled us relentlessly on the ever-important lessons of pet ownership (we all remember Spot, right?). They were simple kids, but their teachings were entertaining, impactful and valuable. Sounds an awful lot like another Jane I met. Her name is Jane Elias, former muralist and current founder of Simply Jane Art Studio, and she is simply brilliant. If you're needing a place to let your kids release some creative energy this winter, consider dropping by and dabbling in some paint, supporting this awesomely innovative local business.
Simply Jane is a small, adorable art studio located in South Minneapolis. Founder Jane Elias opened the shop with her community in mind and it quickly became a non-profit, focusing on mobile accessibility and the idea of using art as a form of relaxation and therapy for those of all ages and ranging abilities, including the elderly and those with special needs. Through donations, she is able to employ people with disabilities (such as bipolar disorder and autism), host birthday parties for large groups of kids and adults, teach group classes and private lessons, and provide drop-in paint time open to the public.
My kids and I hit up Simply Jane for a morning of drop-in painting and I instantly fell in love...like, to the point where I wanted to quit my job then and there and replicate her exact life choices. The place is decorated in garden-themed goodness, from a painted cobblestone walkway to vines with brick adorning the party rooms and a white picket fence outlining the small play area. Everything is sectioned off nicely so parties don't interact with the drop-in tables and classes are held in a separate room in the back. She has an area for those with sensitivity issues, a kids play area (to entertain them once their painting project is finished and they patiently wait for their perfectionistic friends...or moms), a small stage in the party room for playing dress-up, a sink for clean-up, a cute summer patio area in the back to enjoy warm days and messy projects, and a giant birthday party chair covered in painted sunflowers in which the guest of honor can open gifts. Not to mention there are ramps everywhere making the entire space wheelchair-accessible. I mean, seriously, this place is just so thoughtful and beautiful.
Have kids? You're going to want to read this...
If you are bringing your children here, look into going on Thursday mornings from 10am to noon. This is when they host Toddler Time where kids can paint at a discounted price. Whereas usually the studio fee is $5/person (or $10 for a group of up to four) plus the price of the project you choose to paint, Toddler Time is only $10/person, which includes the studio fee and canvas, so it's really a great bargain.
Of course, you can drop in anytime there is open paint, but you will be paying per project (of which there is quite a variety). Your kids can choose from a vase, birdhouse, wall hanging, glass, bowl, flower pot or canvas. You are not painting ceramics like at some of those pottery painting stores, so the project can go home with you at the end of your visit. We went with a basic canvas in the smallest size (4x4 inch was $7) but prices go up with the canvas size (up to $19 for a 9x12 inch). You can select a blank canvas or a "fun" one with drawings of mermaids, snakes, frogs, or (a personal favorite) Olaf the Snowman. My kids loved wearing the mess-preventative, oversized t-shirts provided to them after they saw the teacher did some hand painting and then wiped it on her shirt. All day long my kids were getting intentionally dirty and wiping "stuff" on their shirts, but at the art studio, it was pretty much their favorite part. Little nerds. The paint comes off of skin very easily and there is a sink with stool for kids to wash up afterwards.
The teacher sits with your kids and gives them a short lesson on how to use their professional paint and brushes. My three-year old didn't listen one iota and no one seemed to care, so don't let that stress you out. Their peace sign and turtle took about 15 minutes to complete from start to finish, and then it was time to play in the play area, which offers coloring books, reading books, a small play kitchen, some puzzles and tools and a chalkboard.
I perused the small gift shop while Jane handed my kids their finished masterpieces before we headed out. They held them in their proud little paws the whole drive home and immediately hung them in the location of their choosing (limited to their bedroom walls, of course). Yes, my daughter called her peace sign a steering wheel, but the excitement they had when they showed their dad their paintings when he got home from work was priceless!
Bonus stuff worth mentioning...
Parties: Have a little artist with a winter birthday? Look into purchasing one of Simply Jane Art Studio's party packs, which range from basic to customized and vary in price accordingly. Two beautiful party rooms are available for your group and they will always include painting and fun. Check out the website for more party information.
Classes: They also offers kids (and adults) art classes and camps during the school year and those long summer days, which seriously make me wish I could be nine again...minus the giant glasses and obsession with jelly shoes.
Memberships: Think you'll be going more than a couple times a year? Purchase a family studio membership at the rate of $50 and your studio fee will be waived for up to four family members or friends who join you at each drop-in paint session. Visit their website to learn more about their membership options.
Their business hours vary by season, school release weeks, and holidays so be sure to check the website before leaving home, but in general, drop-in paint hours are:
Tuesday 10am - 5pm
Wednesday 10am - 5pm
Thursday 10am - 5pm (Toddler Time 10-noon)
Friday 10am - 9pm
Saturday 10am - 6pm
Sunday 12pm - 6pm
No appointments are necessary for drop-in paint (hence the name). Just show up, select your project and get messy!
If you are in Minnesota, definitely check this place out...sounds like loads of fun!! And, we all know that you will want to stay up to date on all the fun stuff Nicki recommends and find around our great state of MN. The best way is to connect with her on Facebook...