The Paint Mixer moves into a mobile studio
The Paint Mixer Park City is going mobile.
The social-painting business is leaving its home of four years at 738 Main St. to take a ride in what owner Jill Johnson calls the VanGo, a mobile art studio.
“We’ve had the VanGo for awhile, and it has all the supplies of what you experienced at our brick-and-mortar studio,” Johnson said. “We’ll still have our shop in Salt Lake City, but we decided we would rather bring our business directly to others and use their venues here in the Wasatch Back.”
Those supplies include tables, chairs, easels, palettes, brushes and paints, she said.
“We’ll cover all the surfaces and put down tarps, before we take everyone through step-by-step painting,” Johnson said. “We also offer an open studio format where people can pick what they want to do. And when we’re done, we clean it all up and leave it like we were never there.”
Johnson has been thinking about going mobile for a few years.
“We’ve worked with a lot of local partners, and decided we would rather bring our business to them and use venues they are already working in,” she said. “I thought we maybe should get out of our lease. Then when COVID-19 hit and we couldn’t host large crowds, things became clear.”
At first the Paint Mixer hosted online classes and virtual team-building workshops, and sent out a load of paint kits to participants, according to Johnson.
“Then we were able to start setting up public sessions throughout the town,” Johnson said.
This summer, the Paint Mixer set up on the lawn outside Versante Hearth + Bar, the Peaks Hotel and Deer Valley’s Grocery Cafe.
“We’ve gotten good at loading, reloading and setting things up and taking things down,” she said with a laugh.
All the Paint Mixer sessions, private and public, follow COVID-19 protocols, Johnson said.
“The number of participants will depend on the organizations and the venues they use,” she said. “We usually host public events for 10 to 20 people, who are socially distanced. And we sanitize and clean all the equipment. We want to help everyone feel comfortable and safe.”
Johnson, who has a background in art therapy and has worked with the National Ability Center and Art Access, knows the importance of providing fun and creative experiences to people, especially during such an isolating time.
“I’ve always had a belief of the power of creativity and making time for it,” she said. “There are no rules with the pandemic. Luckily we’re now more agile and are continuing to find new ways to turn challenges into opportunities. We want to find new ways to provide a relaxed and safe atmosphere for people to try out some painting. People can get so nervous about the end product, and we just want to help people create anywhere and anytime.”
Johnson says the Paint Mixer clients create “fun art, not fine art.”
“We’re getting people to try something new or getting people to revisit something they haven’t done since they were in kindergarten,” she said. “Sometimes we do welcome some incredible local artists who want to participate in something a little more relaxed.”
Still, Johnson will always remember the fun times she’s hosted at her former studio.
“We’ve been building our brand, and the idea of getting creative and playful has always been important to us,” she said. “We may eventually need a studio again, but this is the perfect time to explore what we can do without one. I feel lucky that we’re still going strong.”
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