116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Amanda Happel started Cork N Canvas Iowa, a traveling painting party business, in January of 2014 after the art shop where she was working closed its doors.
One of the shop's employees asked Happel if she would teach painting classes, and she stepped into the role with gusto. She said she made the instructions really simple, so that if she, as a non-professional artist, could complete the paintings, anyone could.
'Kirkwood had booked six of these art classes through the art studio for their continuing education program, so I taught them down at New Bo. That really helped me get started, because they all sold out immediately,” she said.
Until that point, Happel had been working on a marketing degree at Mount Mercy University, and was doing an internship geared toward the corporate world. But one morning, she said she woke up and realized she might be on to something completely different.
'I quit my internship and I've been teaching these painting classes full-time ever since,” she said.
Cork N Canvas often is booked for events ranging from girls' night out to birthday parties, office parties, church events and bridal showers. Participants are able to paint while noshing on munchies and sipping cocktails, a trend called 'social art”.
Happel teaches an average of 25 painting sessions a month, nine or 10 of them public, with Fridays and Saturdays usually being two-party days.
'We use acrylic paints for these projects because it dries so fast, so the paintings are 90 percent dry when they go home,” she said.
Happel offers 60 different projects, including Tuscan scenes and holiday themes, from which the party host can choose.
'I try to stay as abstract as possible,” she explained, 'because people are hard on themselves when it is something that they have to re-create. They don't have to try and make sure their work matches perfectly to the example.”
Corn N Canvas offers gift certificates as well as child-friendly painting party options.
'I'll work with 12 to 15 preteens in a room, while the parents are off in another room,” she said. 'The kids are great to work with.”
The youngest age group she will work with is 8, she said.
'Much younger than that, and they aren't able to fully engage in what we are trying to do,” Happel said.
Know a company in business for more than a year that would make an ideal My Biz? Contact Francie Williamson at email@example.com
AT A GLANCE
Cork N Canvas Iowa
Cork N Canvas Iowa