Photo Credit: Dara Troshane
Art is a very big part of my life and has been since I was little. I like to look at it, learn about it, teach my children about it, and make it whenever possible. I took painting and drawing classes when I was younger and went to a fantabulous creative arts sleepaway camp for five years (where I taught glass blowing! Whaaat? My freshman year “you couldn’t guess that about me – fact). Creativity runs in my family. Art and music is in our genes. It is not a surprise that my little girl loves them both too. I have been able to live vicariously through her these last few years by taking her to some of the best music and art classes I have found. Now I am enjoying Music Together once again through my son’s eyes. Today’s post is about two of my favorite places on Long Island: Not Just Art in Oyster Bay & SoulShine in Port Washington. With the start of school looming this is the perfect time to think about signing up you(r kid) for an art class!
A painting I made of giraffes in 2011. Even giraffes like hanging out on The Great Lawn.
For those looking for kids (of all ages) classes – starting at infants – allow me to introduce you to Not Just Art. My son and I currently take Music Together at one of their satellite locations. Music Together holds a special place in my family’s heart. So when we moved out to Long Island I asked my good friends at Eastside Westside Music Together to recommend a class close to our new home. They sent me to Not Just Art. We soon learned Music Together was only a small part of the wonderful world Not Just Art has created on Long Island.
We visited the bright, Oyster bay storefront of Not Just Art recently for a morning “mini-camp” and Music Together class. We got to see & take advantage of the bright, beautiful studios, retail space & spacious music room. My four year old excitedly did all kind of creative arts & crafts – including using common items in new ways (which I LOVE as I’m a recycling junkie). We also got to tour the “older” kid art studios complete with wall to wall bins filled with recycled material ready for an imagination to run wild. I’ll admit to being a little jealous of all the great things there were to do for kids!
Before we knew it, it was time for music class. I was so excited to take my two kids to one class – a first for me! It was so amazing to watch them enjoy the class together. Since my daughter is an old-hat at Music Together she was singing to my son, getting him instruments and even “ba ba, ba ba ba”-ing for him. I’ll admit it, I shed a few proud Mama tears…
I highly, highly recommend checking out Not Just Art. Besides all the fantastic classes they offer there is a pretty large retail space with the most fantastic gift and art items. As Eva, the owner – told me today –not Just Art is a creative children’s enrichment center specializing in art supplies as well as science and construction kits. They are located at 183 South Street right in Oyster Bay and can be reached at: (516) 922-8300. They offer: Music Together® Classes (for newborns through 5 years), Art Classes, Science Classes, Parent/Child (Mommy & Me) and Separation Classes, Theater Arts, Preschool Enrichment, Prek & Elementary After School Programs, Birthday Parties, Play Dates & Custom Events, Drop-In Art Studio, Scout Troops Badges, Seasonal Workshops, School Vacation & Holiday Programs, Summer Mini camps, & Family Activities.
For those of you looking for art classes for kids and adults, allow me to introduce you to SoulShine. As soon as I entered SoulShine I felt like I hopped on a plane to the Caribbean. The beautiful bright colors transported me immediately. Fantastic!
My daughter made a beautiful painting on the perfect kid-sized canvas (!) And I was seduced by Dara’s “patented” circles to try as well. I must say, I did pretty well I think!
We had planned to spend an hour there to check out the studio but were having so much fun the time flew. As soon as we got home my daughter immediately insisted we hang both paintings in her room. I’m not sure if it was some type of magical paint that Dara has, and I don’t usually look at our art through rosy glasses, but both paintings were gorgeous! I felt like we brought a little bit of SoulShine home with us. And it made me happy.
Photo Credit: Dara Troshane
Dara offers in-studio classes, art camp over school breaks, she is even happy to do custom classes around your schedule (by appointment). For the older artists, she offers mom’s night packages in her studio, can come to you & your friends, or can bring everything to a restaurant for the ultimate night out experience! For back to school she is offering Nursery/Pre-K classes, Children’s Mixed Media Art, story art/ draw & paint, Intuitive Painting (adults), Mosaics (adults), Creative Soul Circle, and a Friday Night Drop Off class. Another exciting draw (pun intended) is SoulShine’s backyard garden where Dara will bring out easels on beautiful days to paint in the beauty of nature. So you can get your Monet-on.
It is nice in this day and age to find good people running “mom and pop” shops. In you have a few moments, check them out. Feel good about supporting local, women owned businesses. I know I do.
*GIVEAWAY* SoulShine has offered to giveaway a little surprise to one lucky reader!
To win – please post in the comment section below:
What is your favorite way to be creative? Sneaking it in while your kids are doing it counts!
Winner will be chosen Wednesday, August 20th.