In a cheerfully bright space on lower Main Street, dozens of paintings hang on the walls. No, it is not another art gallery.
The Paint Mixer may be stacked with art, but it is also brimming with paints and blank canvases, brushes and aprons. The new business is a place where locals and guests alike sip on their wine while trying their hand at making their own art, recreating iconic scenes such as the McPolin Barn, flourishing a particular tree in a mountain scene or mixing blues and reds in the search of the right shade for a cobbled stone street. It's what owner Nicky Lecher calls a paint bar.
"This is a combination, a unique blend of art entertainment and wine instruction," Lecher said. " It is a fun, relaxed social setting where everyone can just switch off and enjoy themselves. I don't like to call it art lessons though. What is great about it is everyone comes in here, and they leave feeling very self-impressed. Everyone has an artist in them."
"You're not getting a grade at the end of the day," she added. "It's about having an experience."
Paint bars are a growing trend nationally, where customers can enjoy a drink out while also taking in a bit of instruction from a teacher and entertainer on color mixing, brush stroke techniques and blocking shapes on canvas. First appearing in major cities such as Boston and New York, the idea has spread to every state in the country, giving people a new night-out activity.
At the Paint Mixer, guests staying in Park City can take home a scene of the town or locals can get the piece framed in-house to hang up at home. Friends can pick up gift certificates or plan parties in the space. The business works where upcoming paintings may be viewed online and people register there.
"People love to socialize," Lecher said, "and there are only so many times you want to go out to the bar. There are not many activities where groups can come together and do something common and have different abilities. Even with skiing, you want to go with someone at or near your level. This is meant to be entertaining, a good time out to relax and recharge."
Not everyone who walked through her doors was sold on the idea, Lecher added, but by the end of the night most non-believers are converts. Since she opened in September, business has been bustling but the occasional reluctant participant will wander in.
"There was one gentle man who came in with his wife and the first thing he told us was that he did not want to be here," Lecher said. "He came because his wife wanted to. But through the evening he started smiling and smiling. Eventually, he started taking pictures of his progress and sending them to his kids."
The Paint Mixer hosts a number of events, from the every-day session, to family days, to night classes, to corporate parties. And in the process of painting, tables will mingle and exchange ideas and discuss their own attempts and shading or blending. Lecher recounted one night when a group of nurses came for a holiday party and met another table of women who were part of a book club. the end of the night, numbers were exchanged and future plans were in the works.
"It is so much fun," Lecher said. "People of all different ages and backgrounds are here enjoying a simple product, a painting. People walk in hesitant, but I watch this transformation, where people realize they can paint."
The Paint Mixer
738 Main Street