Lawrenceville’s newest business, Paint Monkey
, wants to tap into the creative juices of Pittsburgh’s many latent artists. Located within the Ice House Studios, this “art as entertainment,” do-it-yourself venue equips would-be painters with instruction and materials, while attendees are encouraged to bring friends, imagination, and a bottle of wine.
Groups of 8-30 choose a painting type from an online catalog. In the studio, all materials are provided--including aprons--and artist Joe Groom walks you through each step, painting along with the group in 2-3 hours sessions.
Groom says Paint Monkey is like a personal version of PBS’s Joy of Painting, except a lot more fun. Music plays in the background (you can bring your own iPod), and you’re welcome to bring food and drink. And unlike in your living room, it’s ok if a few drops of paint land on the former ice-warehouse’s concrete floors.
Groom says that although many people haven’t painted since they were kids, once the first stroke touches canvas, it all comes back.
“People are creative,” he says, “you just got to give them an opportunity to get it going.”
Groom says the point of Paint Monkey is less about developing impeccable skills, than it is about entertainment, and being creative in a social environment.
Paint Monkey accommodates all group types, including kids’ birthday parties, senior citizen groups, office co-workers, or even a candle-lit date night.
Paint Monkey is co-owned by Groom and Mary Lou Bradley. The recently-engaged couple moved to Pittsburgh from Central Florida last October. Mary Lou grew up in Pittsburgh’s Overbrook neighborhood, but has lived in New York and Florida for the past 30 years.
For a Pittsburgh native, whose notions of the city were informed by years of industrial decline, Bradley was excited and surprised by the city’s transformation, and by the opportunity it could now offer her.
“I don’t think we could have done this anywhere else,” she says.
Bradley and Groom enjoy exploring the revitalized city, and feel especially at home in Lawrenceville’s creative community.
Paint Monkey sessions range from $35 to $45, and offer a reduced rate for kids. They plan special events, such as Paint Your Pet, and are able to bring Paint Monkey on the road.
Paint Money, 100 43rd Street, Studio 212. Lawrenceville. 412-770-4923.
Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Mary Lou Bradley, Joe Groom