Don’t think you can paint? Try it with a glass of wine, a friendly laid-back atmosphere and the company of perhaps equally inexperienced friends—and you might discover you’re not so hapless after all.
That’s the type of “art party” offered at Bottle and Bottega, one of La Grange’s newest businesses, which has been open since Dec. 8 and held its formal ribbon-cutting on Thursday with the La Grange Business Association. Invited guests each took a crack at their own canvas in the relaxed, goldenrod-colored BYOB studio.
“The idea behind it is to take away a little of the intimidation of the blank canvas,” said Stephanie King-Myers, founder of the growing, Chicago-based franchise, which now has eight locations as far-flung as Denver and New Jersey.
“[There’s] also a social component—we call it an art party; it’s not a typical art class. You want to socialize and make friends and have fun while you’re doing it.”
Village residents Paul and Meg LaFaivre have been running the La Grange location since June 2012 as a mobile business and now have a permanent home at 1 W. Harris Ave.
“We thought it was such a great, fresh concept,” said Meg LaFaivre, mom to Sophia, 10, and McKenzie, 8. “We had been talking for a long time about owning a business. … It seemed like such a unique concept that would partner really well with our community, and the more we found out, the more we got excited.”
Bottle and Bottega emphasizes that absolutely no artistic talent is necessary to have a blast at one of their parties, which can host anything from individuals and couples on a night out, to a corporate outing or large celebration. (Think you can barely draw stick figures? Come on down!)
The concept is simple, yet unique: relax, socialize, drink and, while you’re doing so, have a go at painting or creating something. Some instruction is provided, but the focus is less on developing hardcore art skills than on enjoyment and organic creativity—and maybe having something new to hang on your wall.
“For people who are adults, there’s not a whole lot in terms of things to do for fun,” LaFaivre said. “You have a select amount of different choices, and this just seemed like a great partnership between getting to be a kid again and get creative and get messy and paint and do those things, but then you walk away with a great piece, too.”
The LaFaivres are also committed to local partnerships. From their time as a mobile business renting out space, they say they’ve developed a number of mutually beneficial connections. For instance, Vino e Birra is offering discounts for people picking up beverages en route to a Bottle and Bottega event. And the walls of the studio serve as a gallery for local artists selling their pieces.
“I think it’s one of the most exciting concepts we’ve seen in a while,” La Grange Community Development Director Pat Benjamin said at the opening.
“It’s just very exciting to be a part of this wonderful community,” said Paul LaFaivre.
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