COVENTRY TWP. There is a new spot to let creativity grow in Coventry Township with the recent opening of the Little Van Gogh Art Studio.
Erica Tipton, who opened the studio with her husband, Tim, said she has always been about art and creativity.
Tipton, who was a mortgage loan officer, said she explored doing podcasts and blogging but said she still felt hungry inside and hadn’t found her calling.
She said art is critical as Coventry Local Schools no longer has an art class at the elementary school and teachers have an option to do it in their classroom.
"Art is so critical to self-confidence and self-trust," Tipton said.
The whole idea for a studio came about when she was on a camping trip with her children and they were doing crafts. The idea of her opening something came to mind and it only grew from there.
Tipton had to get her husband, who has a business background, on board with the idea. He helped her write up a business plan and from there everything happened really quickly, she said.
Tipton wanted to open in Coventry and when she came across the location, which is right next door to the new Coventry High School, she was really pleased.
"I feel like I couldn’t have asked for a better location," Tipton said. "I love Coventry and the Portage Lakes."
Tipton grew up in Springfield Township and her husband has lived in Coventry his entire life, so they know the area well.
The location, which was an ice cream stand at one time and then laundromat, needed extensive work, she said. With some help from her husband, they were able to paint and create what is the studio today. There are clouds hanging from the ceiling and a giant chalkboard wall inside the studio.
"I wanted the walls white to be a blank canvas," Tipton said.
Tipton lives down the street from the studio, so she can walk to work each day.
"I finally feel I found what I want to do," Tipton said. "I want to give back to my community."
Tipton has a six year old daughter and an eight year old son. She said her daughter is really into art and is like a miniature her while her son has interest, but is a busy body doing many other things.
Tipton offers a class every Saturday morning normally around 11 a.m. which is for either pre-school (ages three to five) or school age children (age five and up). Saturday classes are normally between $20 and $22. There is also open studio every Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. for $15.
She is also planning some art camps for Christmas break, spring break and for days when children are not in school. Parents are encouraged to drop their children off and go so they aren’t a distraction when it comes time for the children to focus on the project.
The studio also offers an adult sip and paint nights once per month, which are $30.
Registration is required for all classes and anyone interested can visit the studio’s website to view upcoming classes and to sign up.
"The hardest part is the schedule," Tipton said. "I am trying to figure out what is taking off."
She is exploring the idea of having a kids snack and paint class along with coming up with something for teenagers.
"I have a lot of ideas spinning in my head," Tipton said. "I just have to piece it all together."
She said she offers a good mix of painting and making crafts.
"With art you create the things you wish existed," Tipton said.
Little Van Gogh Art Studio also will host birthday parties or private parties, Tipton said.
With the holiday season approaching, Tipton has a giving tree, which she hopes to help families in the area who are in need.
While starting the new business has gone pretty slow, she is grateful for the students and adults who have participated.
Tipton said the studio is more than just art as it is an opportunity to spread kindness. She loves the opportunity to work with children as she said her two biggest passions are art and parenting.
Next year, Tipton would like to open a second location if things continue to go well.