Tap into your creative side on the road

A new business in south Charlotte is bringing art classes to local bars and restaurants, meeting people where they are comfortable and creating something unique.

Started by New Hampshire native Molly Friedman Cowan, The Createry will hold its first traveling painting party at the beginning of October.

Friedman Cowan, who received her bachelor’s in fine arts this year from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, brought the idea with her when she moved to Charlotte. She worked for an already-established company in Boston, which has branches all across the United States that host the same type of event as The Createry will feature.

After taking a road trip to decide where she wanted to live after graduation, Friedman Cowan chose Charlotte. “I wanted to stay on the East Coast because I wanted to stay relatively close to my hometown, and I fell in love with Charlotte,” she said.

Friedman Cowan also picked Charlotte because her old company didn’t have a base here yet. But when she started to work with her old company on establishing the Charlotte branch, she realized it wasn’t a good fit and decided instead to create The Createry. Although she doesn’t have any formal business education and right now no employees other than herself, Friedman Cowan thinks her background in the arts will make it easy to talk to people and get them interested in her business.

Because The Createry is a traveling business, there is no storefront. Friedman Cowan believes this also helps her in gaining venues. “I bring them 25 customers, and they don’t have to do anything. In exchange, they provide the venue. Anything that is bought at the bar goes to them,” she said.

Friedman Cowan makes her money from ticket sales, which are $35 per person. There are typically only 25 slots, but that can vary depending on the size of the venue.

All of the supplies are provided while participants pay for their own food and drinks. Budding artists will be able to express their creative side by either copying a preselected painting, with instruction from Friedman Cowan, or painting something from their imagination or another piece of artwork they’ve seen, also with help available.

There will be two easels in front of the participants with one blank and one finished canvas. Friedman Cowan will paint on the blank canvas and teach people how to create the painting on the finished one. The calendar at www.the-createry.com shows what painting  will be featured at each event.

“I love running these events; it’s so much fun and so rewarding,” Friedman Cowan said. “People who have no experience painting are so excited to walk away with something they are proud of.”

The atmosphere is laid back and fun, Friedman Cowan said, easing the stress people might feel doing something that might be unfamiliar. Her business “… puts a twist on it and shows people (painting) is not scary and it’s not difficult.”

While it’s hard to get people to participate, Friedman Cowan said it’s relatively easy once people know her business. She thinks having them come to an already established business helps.

“It’s easy to get people to come to a place that people have been to and are familiar with,” she said.

With her first event still weeks away, Friedman Cowan hopes her business holds up. “Right now, I would be so thrilled if events start selling out. I think I’m really focused on the next three to six months and probably after that I’ll have a better idea what type of consistency the business will have.”

For more information on The Createry, visit www.the-createry.com. Friedman Cowan said people can receive a 30 percent discount on the price of a ticket by using coupon code CWN30.

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