Continuing with my series, Exploring Dupont St In The Junction Triangle, my next new business feature is 4Cats Arts Studio The Junction located at 1615 Dupont St and been here since March 2013. Curator, Courtney Hayes does not only have a huge passion for the arts, but is extremely excited that she opened up shop in the Junction Triangle. Find out more about Courtney and her art studio below. (Make sure to keep reading until the end for pictures and a video)
The 411 On Courtney
Courtney studied the arts at Sheridan College and after graduating, moved to Toronto to do prop styling and scenic paints. While living in the Beaches, she use to walk by a kids art studio called Glitter Pie and an alarm went off in her head. With tons of persuasion, Courtney convinced the owner of the newly opened studio to allow her to volunteer as she had no budget for a full time employee. Next thing you know, it’s 3 years later and Courtney has been happily working full time at Glitter Pie, now a successful kids art studio. Unfortunately the studio had to close down as the landlord had increased the rent too much, which is an all too familiar story in Toronto. Courtney had found her calling, but didn’t know what to do. While on the phone with her sister in BC, Courtney’s sister mentioned the 4Cats Arts Studio down the street from her house and Courtney was re-inspired.
4Cats Arts Studio
4Cats Arts Studio is originally from British Columbia and has 77 locations across Canada, Mexico, USA and Australia, 4 being in Toronto. The great thing about 4Cats is that it allows a entrepreneur to either buy into the franchise and open up shop or go down the Corporate route which is what Courtney did. She and 500 applicants applied and went through gruelling interviews to be given a chance to run her own kids art studio without the big start up costs, perfect for a young entrepreneur like Courtney. Needless to say Courtney was the chosen one. She was flown out to Salt Spring for training where she learned all the 4Cats techniques and has access to online support. For Courtney this is not just a job, “it’s a lifestyle, it becomes your everything” and sitting down with her for this interview, it was quite evident Courtney’s love and passion for the arts and sharing that with her kids, it might have rubbed off on me too! Oh and did I mention 4Cats message to the community? “The best, most fun art studio ever!!!” How brilliant?
Why The Junction Triangle
Courtney definitely had a say when deciding where to open her kids art studio. After looking in Bloor West, Roncesvalles and The Junction, nothing felt better then being on Dupont St in the Junction Triangle. Once she laid eyes on the studio, it was love at first sight. Courtney really liked how the big space still felt cozy and of course all the wall space for the artwork to be hung. Also having big windows was important to her, to make the studio bright and also another spot to display artwork. Courtney wanted her art studio to be located somewhere where “it’s happening” and knew there was a big community in the Junction Triangle with lots of “young budding artists”. Courtney loves the changes happening on Dupont St, she feels the older businesses are stepping it up with increased and new competition arriving. She said it’s like a family being here on this street and would love the opportunity to work with the other businesses and all help each other out.
“No Big Deal” Rule
When Courtney told me about the “no big deal” rule, I instantly thought it was amazing! It means if you get paint on the floor or on yourself or make a mistake, it’s “no big deal”. She said it’s actually quite freeing for the kids and the kids don’t feel pressure to make something prefect. Courtney says that any painting with a “mistake” is deemed to be an original and the kids can’t get enough of it. Courtney wants the kids to feel comfortable and have fun the moment they step into her studio, but also have a sense of independence. She is there only to guide and instruct, the rest is up to the kids. Even if one of the kids doubts their ability to do something, Courtney allows them to do it on their own which she says gives them confidence inside and outside the art studio.
Something For Everyone
4Cats Art Studio really has something for everyone, whether it’s kids or adults. All materials are supplied, all you need to do is bring yourself or your child and dress for mess, smocks can be provided too, if you forget. The studio uses all professional grade art supplies and also has a kiln for cooking clay. It’s important for Courtney that the kids get to use proper art materials so that they experience the real deal! 4Cats offers artist focus classes where the kids learn about 2 artists, work in a variety of mediums to create art just like the artists they are learning about. There’s also a mixed media class where kids get to explore all different types of art ranging from acrylic on canvas painting to sculptures using polymer and regular clay. The studio also offers birthday parties such as splatter parties, pop art parties, star force parties and more. Like I mentioned there’s something for adults too! This Fall Courtney will be offering pottery classes, stained glass classes, date night classes and even bachelorettes. Her goal is for schools to bring their classrooms into her studio for field trips too.
PS How amazing is this silver bathroom? The inspiration comes from Andy Warhol, who covered his whole studio in tinfoil and silver paint!
So I know after reading about 4Cats Arts Studio, you and you’re kids are dying to try a class, so make sure to visit their website for the Fall schedule, click 4Cats The Junction Fall Schedule
If you want to check out the studio before signing up for a class, visit their open house happening on Saturday September 7th, 2013, for more information, click 4Cats Open House.
Here’s a little video of the art studio!
Thanks again Courtney, it was such a pleasure!