mikifoto | profile on The Messy Artist in East Hanover, NJ

Kids and Art. Two of my favorite things. Needless to say I had so much fun at The Messy Artist photo shoot in East Hanover, NJ. There was goop and glue and paint...even a bean box! This creative studio allows children to explore, to learn and to get their hands dirty. I LOVED watching their curious minds discover and create. And their honest, joyful expressions made for some great pictures! I talked more with Donna Bernstein, the owner and director of The Messy Artist.

Describe your business. How long have you been open? The Messy Artist is a unique art studio that provides both children and adults a safe space to learn, create, and grow. In addition to our stellar art classes, we offer birthday parties, workshops, and other special events. We have been in business for more than 14 years, starting with classes at a church in Millburn, and eventually moving to our own storefront in South Orange in 2001. After 10 wonderful years there, we relocated to our even more spectacular space in East Hanover. Our new facility is brimming with innovative design, from its interesting architecture right down to the bright wall paint. All this and more lends inspiration to our budding artists. What do you love about your business? It has been amazing to have the opportunity to create a business around my vision and passion. I am very particular about the methods in which children are educated. I believe that young children learn best through play and exploring the environment that surrounds them. I love that I have been able to develop an engaging learning environment that was born from this philosophy. What was the hardest thing to accomplish? I strongly believe that the journey to creating a masterpiece is just as important, if not more important, than the end product. The challenge has been in educating parents in the many benefits of this theory. From the outside, what we do may look like fun and games, and while it is certainly fun, each project, activity, and lesson is clearly thought out and intentional. There is educational value in every facet of our curriculum. Educating parents in that value has become an important aspect of growing the business. How is Messy Artist unique? Our programs are built around the philosophy that children learn best through hands-on exploration of their environment. Therefore we provide projects that are open ended and encourage children to learn through the journey of creating art. At The Messy Artist, children make the decisions about their creations. Allowing them to make those choices builds self-esteem and creative learners. Throughout their journey here, students learn to be resourceful, learn more about themselves, and learn to think outside of the proverbial box, all while creating art. What is new for Messy Artist? Requests from parents seeking a place to grow as artists, has led us to offer classes for adults. In addition, I also saw a need for the adults to have a place of their own to learn and grow as parents. That’s when I teamed up with Tammy Gold to create The Parenting Place@The Messy Artist. Parenting is one of the most rewarding and most challenging jobs you’ll ever have. And the transition into new parenthood can bring on frightening emotions, surprising logistics, and unexpected relationship changes. The Parenting Place will offer groups that can help parents face the challenges and forge a clear path to the rewards of parenting. Visit www.TheParentingPlacenj.com to learn about the amazing program offered for new moms starting May 2, 2013. Also check out our current offerings at www.TheMessyArtist.com. Share words of advice for other women entrepreneurs. Follow your passions and dreams. Stay strong and stick to what you believe in! For all you budding artists, young and older, definitely contact Donna or visit The Messy Artist at 356 State Route 10 (near Michaels).

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