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Cincinnati-area art shops find creative ways to bring pottery, paints and joy to kids at home

Posted at 2:47 PM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-29 20:12:40-04

CINCINNATI — Artist Toni Smith makes her living being creative, so it’s no surprise she found a creative way to keep her business open during the coronavirus pandemic.

Smith owns Art on Fire in Colerain Township, and before it closed its doors to comply with Gov. Mike DeWine’s stay-at-home order, she would have been preparing to teach a pottery class.

“The most popular thing is our paint-your-own pottery,” Smith said. “You grab a piece that you like. You hang out with friends and family and paint it, leave it with us, we glaze and fire it.”

Now that those in-person classes can’t happen, Smith offers curb-side pick up of her art-to-go kits.

“So you can go online to our website artonfirecincy.com and pick out your pieces, purchase them, and we will have it ready in about a half an hour,” Smith said. “We will put all the paints, the brushes and everything you will need in there and you just come pick it up.”

Then after the pottery is painted, customers can drop it back off to be glazed and fired for a finished piece.

The art-at-home kit not only offers a reprieve for parents struggling to keep kids occupied, it’s a way for kids to give back to their hard-working moms by giving them a handmade Mother’s Day gift.

“I actually partnered with a local florist, Business is Blooming, and she’s providing fresh flowers and then you get a vase to go with it all as one kit with a handmade card.”

Another local business hoping to capitalize on a non-traditional Mother’s Day with art-to-go kits is Uptown Art in Anderson Township.

“We have a fun board that has the word Mom on it. Inside the 'O' is a wreath of flowers and you get to be as creative as you want to be,” said owner Suzanne Hall.

Like Art on Fire, Uptown Art also started offering at-home kits when the stay-at-home mandate started. She also hopes her creative way of keeping her business open brings art and joy into the homes of families stuck inside.

“Kids are out of school and parents are trying to educate them at home and stay creative,” Hall said. “A lot of parents don't have art backgrounds, so we put these kits together for kids and found also that adults want an outlet.”

The kits that Uptown Art offers come with brushes, paint, a pallet and step-by-step instructions. The paintings change from week to week to keep the creative juices flowing.

If the instructions alone aren’t enough, Hall also offers online virtual classes through her website.

“We’ve actually hosted a Zoom birthday party for a little girl with eleven of her friends,” Hall said.

It’s another way these two local companies are keeping art alive and spirits up in Cincinnati.