Kaelyn Radway, 7, works on her penguin painting Friday at Splatz Canvas and Wine. The new downtown business is open to special events, families, couples and groups of friends interested in a unique night on the town.

Photo by Nicole Inglis

Kaelyn Radway, 7, works on her penguin painting Friday at Splatz Canvas and Wine. The new downtown business is open to special events, families, couples and groups of friends interested in a unique night on the town.

Splatz Canvas and Wine opens in downtown Steamboat Springs

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Splatz Canvas and Wine

To reserve a seat, visit www.splatzcanvasandwine.com or call 970-819-2156.

— Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the addition of downtown business the Potter's Wheel.

Have you ever wanted to paint but have no aspirations of becoming a Picasso or a Monet?

Local entrepreneur Julie Whitecotton has been drawing and painting her whole life and knows that it can be a fun, social activity that’s not a means to an end but a creative and relaxing end in itself.

“We want the adults to feel like they can play, too,” she said.

That’s the concept behind Splatz Canvas and Wine, a new business that opened Friday at 1104 Lincoln Ave. in the Old West building.

Whitecotton’s creativity comes not only in the form of her art instruction at the new business but also in the cotton aprons she sewed by hand and gives out to the patrons of Splatz.

Besides the aprons, the room retains a simple concrete floor sure to be splattered with color, and paintings are beginning to fill up the walls.

The concept, like the room, is simple.

Come, socialize, drink and snack, listen to music and watch as an artist leads you through step-by-step instructions to create your very own painting.

And everyone’s welcome.

“Every painting comes out of here different,” said Whitecotton. “People put their special touches to it.”

Splatz will have classes at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays with the $35 cost including the first glass of wine and all the materials needed to complete a painting to take home.

A class at 3 p.m. Sundays will be $25 and geared more toward families.

Whitecotton said the space also is available for birthday parties, bachelorette parties and corporate events.

On Friday, Splatz’s first day open, a group from the Boys & Girls Club of Steamboat Springs got its first crack at it — minus the wine, of course.

Throughout the two-hour class, there was down time when parts of the acrylic paint had to dry before the next step could be completed. So the participants chatted, ate potato chips and held dance parties in the middle of the sunlit room.

“We’re painting a penguin that’s skiing. It’s fun,” 7-year-old Kaelyn Radway said. She was on a play date with her friend, Kyra, and this was only the beginning of their fun afternoon.

“I like that you get to do it step by step instead of all crazy,” Kaelyn said about the penguin-painting project.

The first evening painting class involving a cash bar and a lovely aspen scene took place Friday evening among the First Friday Artwalk crowds. There will be a different painting each time, and Whitecotton said to reserve a seat online at www.splatzcanvasandwine.com or by calling 970-819-2156.

Splatz may be the freshest social art center in downtown Steamboat, but it’s not the only aspect of a growing trend.

RED Contemporary will be hosting a Paint and Sip event from 4 to 6 p.m. every Wednesday starting Feb. 20 at the gallery’s mountain location.

Similar to Splatz, artists Susan Schiesser and Michelle Ideus will offer step-by-step instructions, and all the materials will be provided to leave with a completed painting.

In addition, the Steamboat Arts & Crafts Gym offers classes in painting, crafting and special events for children and adults and in downtown Steamboat Springs, the Potter's Wheel offers pottery painting and happy hours.

“I think it fits in Steamboat very well,” Whitecotton said about Splatz. “Steamboat is a really art-friendly town.”

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com

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