“It’s bigger than getting a group of people together to paint the same thing," says ArtJamz founder and chief creative enabler, Michael M Clements. "Our mission is to make the world a more creative place.” Clements left his position as executive editor at Washington Life Magazine to open the first ArtJamz Dupont Studio in 2012.
The ArtJamz Virginia Underground Studio in Crystal City grand opening was on July 7th. A collection of local influencers and media gathered to get creative, enjoy drinks and wear artist mustaches. Guest included chef Katsuya Fukushima, Fran Holuba, Donald Syriani, Gavin Daniels, Holly Pan, Virginia Coyne and others.
When ArtJamz opened in 2012, the paint and sip industry was still emerging. The industry has exploded since. Throughout, ArtJamz has focused on encouraging original art, not staid cookie-cutter step-by-step classes.
Famous artists are an important part of their DNA. The new ArtJamz Virginia location is lined with inspirational quotes from artists such as Frida Khalo, Salvador Dali, Banksy, Warhol and more.
Clements says they accomplish their mission by enabling customers to create original art in an authentic studio setting and hiring local artists as staff. The majority of the paint and sip industry utilizes independent contractors.
“We’re building a business that employs artists and enables them to expand their individual artistic careers. That's important to us,” says Clements.
When reimagining their brand for the ArtJamz Virginia location, they turned to up-and-coming creative agency Brilliant Collaborations and creative director Melanie Charlton. The playful emojis and clean minimal designs are unique in the industry.
“99% of paint and sip brands use cliche names and imagery. We stripped away the cliches and created something simple. We let the art speak for itself.”
Award winning architectural design firm Wingate Hughes and Associates lead by co-owner Gavin Daniels helped implement the new look. The ArtJamz Virginia location includes design upgrades which make the experience more customer friendly.
“Unlike paint and sip experiences where customers sit, ArtJamz encourages standing. It creates a more social experience,” explains Clements. “We also invented an innovative system for easels and accessing art materials. You can paint on the walls. The floors get messy. We dare to use glitter. You can't do that stuffed into the backroom of a restaurant.”
The result is a fully-fledged paint and sip brand. One that stands out from formulaic competitors.
“We built ArtJamz from scratch based on how artist studios and artists actually work. We weren't interested in copying the one-size-fits-all model,” Clements comments. “We grew organically based on customer and staff feedback. The result is the most diverse, authentic and social painting experience around."
Their innovative approach means ArtJamz can reach beyond the industry's target demographic of women 25 to 40.
"Most paint and sip brands started in the suburbs and target women 25 to 40. ArtJamz started in the city. We cater to a more diverse clientele. Women are our main consumers, but we are family-friendly and have a loyal following amongst men and seniors. Art is age-agnostic. So are we. We're proud of our diverse customer base and team." Clements explains.
ArtJamz was recently named an age-friendly business by the Washington DC Economic Partnership. It hosts family friendly hours during the weekends from noon to 6pm.
The ArtJamz Virginia Underground Studio in Crystal City opens July 15th, 2016. Online tickets are on sale at artjamz.co. Experiences cost from $20 to $40 per person. Customers are charged separately for studio time and canvas. In Virginia studio time includes paints, art materials, easel and smock rental, art instruction and wine or beer. Arty add-ons like artist mustaches and berets are also available. The full menu is available here.
Photos by Anchyi Wei Photography.