Over the past five years, a rash of adult painting studios have opened that deliver a social experience via a guided painting session, accompanied by wine-drinking, that results in a decent-looking canvas at the end, even for those with no artistic inclination. An instructor provides step-by-step painting instructions and everyone in the room produces the same piece of art.
It's clear that alcohol is such an intrinsic part of the formula that these franchises all incorporate wine into the name of their businesses. (See our review of Pinot's Palette from 2015). Perhaps the wine loosens our inhibitions so that we can feel freer to lay paint on the canvas.
These sessions generally occur in the evening, some even in bars, and are intended for adults. But, some of these studios have dedicated opportunities for kids to try the same thing, without the wine. Here are a few opportunities to take a coached painting session, with notes about the availability of kid-friendly hours and events.
Wine and Design (Jack London Square)
The calendar on the Wine and Design website allows you to see what paintings will be made at each event. The canvases are pre-traced to help guide the painter. The cost is generally $35 for the project, guidance, and materials. Wine is sold separately by the glass.
For the kids: Select events on the calendar of Wine and Design are called “Art Buzz Kids” and allow children to paint a canvas that has already been pre-sketched for them (a little like a coloring book). They also have parent-child events, in which the painting project is a collaborative one.
Wine and Design is located at 222 Broadway, Suite 3B, Oakland. Learn more >>
Canvas and Cabernet (Walnut Creek)
Located in the heart of Walnut Creek, Canvas and Cabernet is set up for a fun date night or Mom's Night Out if you can escape long enough to enjoy a 3-hour class and any of the adjacent restaurants or shopping. Wine and beer are sold separately and classes are generally $45, which includes materials. For $25, you can access all the materials during open studio hours, without instruction on a specific project.
For the kids: For a birthday party, booked in advance, Canvas and Cabernet packs up the wine and becomes Canvas and Cocoa for the 2-hour event.
Canvas and Cabernet is located at 1421 Locust Street, Walnut Creek. View details on their website >>
Painting With A Twist (Pleasant Hill)
This studio is closer for our Pinole, El Sobrante, and Hercules readers. Painting with a Twist marks their events as All Ages or 21+ and offers a mix of the two on their schedule. Canvas and coffee or hot chocolate are included with the class. Wine and beer are sold separately.
Classes vary from 2 to 3 hours and are priced at $35 and $45 accordingly.
For the kids: Although many of the sessions are “all ages,” the staff recommends a minimum age of 7.
Wine and Canvas (Greater Bay Area)
This franchise books painting events at various locations, including a cafe Benecia. The price, $35, includes materials and instruction. The host venue sells food and beverages.
For the kids: Stay tuned, a spot on their website promises “Cookies and Canvas” will launch soon.
See the calendar to see if one is headed your way >>
Pinot's Palette (Alameda)
Located at the South Shore shopping center, Pinot's Palette does not allow children at any time; painters must be 21 and over for all events there.
Some projects are designed to be partner collaborations, like this Lake Merritt interpretation, in which each partner tackles one panel.
PaintNite and Painting and Vino are other franchises that rotate to different Bay Area bars and cafes. Since they travel so broadly, you may find only one class in a blue moon is in a location convenient to you. Or perhaps it's the perfect activity to meet a friend in San Francisco for!
For the kids: Sometimes the host venue is a cafe, in which case, the class is All Ages. Check each website to find events nearby.
You may find discounted seats for a class on Living Social. (Here's our affiliate link to PaintNite on LivingSocial.com >> and to Painting and Vino >> Check the discounts after you've selected a class you want to attend.)