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New business experiments with a mix of paint and wine

Business tries to attract artists in new way

Dec. 14, 2011

Forget wining and dining. The new trend to hit Wauwatosa will be "paint and sip" if the owners of new business Arté - Italian for "art" - have their way.

Karen Salituro, owner of the former Drew's Variety building and the business Go Green, has teamed up with Lisa Allen, owner of Authentic Journeys. The duo will offer one-night painting parties in an attempt to bring another entertainment option to the Village, she said.

The wine and painting studio will open Dec. 28 in the space, 7511 Harwood Ave., next to Go Green, extending the building's niche for introducing new products and services to the area.

"When there's a down economy, people get creative," Salituro said.

Salituro heard about the business concept from a friend in Colorado, while Allen's sister teaches at a Houston shop. The concept is fairly new to the Midwest.

The owners hope the studio will make art more accessible to people who may not normally pick up a paint brush and provide jobs to local artists. Job ads were shared with area art schools, and the artists are the ones creating the designs customers will try to replicate.

Over the weekend, family and friends came in to do some training and they painted a bicycle design. Many had different color seats or handlebars, some looked more like mountain bikes and one creative type even flipped the bicycle upside down on the canvas and put a for sale tag on it.

"With some there's room for interpretation," Salituro said. "We try to take the anxiety away. The biggest thing you have to do is break the canvas with color, and it gets easier from there."

Art talent and experience is not a prerequisite to party.

"After the painting party, people are always amazed at how well they did," Allen said. "They walk in thinking they can only create stick figures and walk out with their own charming rendition of 'Starry Night' and also a sense of accomplishment."

Classes will likely average 15 participants, but there is room for up to 45 painters. Art supplies, the canvas, smocks and instruction will be provided. New designs will be introduced monthly.

Depending on the detail of the design, a class will generally last two to three hours. Walk-ins are welcome and the space can be reserved for private parties.

The business owners plan to sell beer and wine by the glass and bottle to enjoy while painting. On Tuesday, the city's Legislation, Licensing and Communications Committee voted in support of granting beer and wine licenses. It will go to the Common Council for final approval next week.

At a glance

WHAT: Arté, a wine and painting studio, opening in the Village

WHERE: 7511 Harwood Ave.

WHEN: Doors open Dec. 28

CONTACT: (414) 810-6095, artewineandpaint.com

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