The clinking of paintbrushes against cans of water fills Muse Paintbar’s cozy Lynnfield studio, as manager and artist Karrie Brawn instructs participants to rinse their brushes and prepare to mix the next color. Dozens of guests, both adults and children, replicate a bright winter scene under Brawn’s tutelage, learning to mix colors and blend on the canvas, adding their own touches as they go. “There are so many places to personalize the painting,” Brawn tells the class. “It’s all about following your own inspiration.”
The Lynnfield location, which opened at MarketStreet in January 2016, brings to the North Shore the innovative Muse Paintbar concept that locals from Hingham, Somerville, Foxborough, and other towns throughout New England and New York have enjoyed since the company’s founding in 2012. Co-founder and owner Stan Finch explains: “I built the company from the ground up with my former marketing professor, Ray Weaver. We both loved the model—it’s a consistent opportunity to make people happy.”
While visitors to Muse Paintbar leave with a beautiful painting and a sense of accomplishment, it’s “not meant to be an academic sort of class,” says Finch. “Our instructors will teach some techniques, but sessions are mainly about fun and relaxation with friends.” Locations offer both private parties and public sessions; the Lynnfield studio, open seven days a week, frequently hosts both types of events in a single day. Guests can come alone or bring a few friends to Muse’s public sessions—when they arrive, they’ll find a canvas with their name on it. Each public session, which lasts two and a half hours, features a single painting that each guest reproduces with help from instructors, and choices can be found on the calendar at Muse Paintbar’s website. Options include cheery landscapes, tropical scenes, and bright florals; paradoxically, while these scenes often look professional, “anyone can enjoy this activity,” Finch explains. “People often ask if they need prior art experience or ability, and the answer is absolutely not. We have a wide range of guests, from complete beginners to art aficionados.”
The instructors, all talented local artists, teach “for about half to two thirds of the session, helping people replicate the sample painting in about 10 or 15 easy-to-follow steps.” says Finch. “The rest of the time is spent catching up with friends, relaxing, or grabbing a glass of wine or snack.” Muse offers a variety of special public events, including family days with kid-friendly paintings during school vacations, couples’ days—in which each person paints half of a romantic scene—and a new activity that Finch has tested with great success, wineglass and vase painting.
Private events offer a more personalized experience for groups of 10 or more—with two private studios, Muse can accommodate a variety of events including birthday parties, workplace events, and fundraisers. “Groups have a chance to really customize their private event,” Finch explains. “They can choose the painting, bring in outside food, and decorate the space however they’d like with help from our party planners.”
Since opening in January, Muse has enjoyed a great deal of support from locals and from MarketStreet. “We look for locations that are entertainment and dining destinations,” says Finch. “MarketStreet has so many amazing options—often, people will come to Muse Paintbar then head to King’s, Yard House, or Gaslight for dinner or drinks afterwards. It’s just a wonderful space and a great community.”
600 Market St.