Kevin Kuster, owner of Creator Gallery in North Aurora, doesn't want to just display art. He wants you to come in and create your own.
The gallery, which had a soft opening in late January, has launched Canvas and Cocktails Night, an art class with a twist. Held Thursday evenings, the classes open with a presentation of works by a famous artist, and then students create their own painting inspired by what they've seen.
If you goCanvas and Cocktails Night
When: 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursdays. Upcoming classes include:
• July 11, Da Vinci and Daiquiris
• July 18, Picasso and Pinot
• July 25, Pollock and Pina Coladas
• Aug. 1, Seurat and Sangria
• Aug. 8, Monet and Martinis
• Aug. 15, Dali and Drafts
Where: Creator Gallery, 1057 N. Orchard Road, North Aurora
Cost: Each class is $38 with all painting materials, canvas and light snacks included.
Details: Participants must be 21 or older, and there is a minimum of 10 students for each class, with a 24 student maximum. Walk-ins are welcome if space is available. Payment is due at time of booking; refunds are not available.
Contact: creatorgallery.com; (630) 229-0828
To enhance the experience, each class is paired with an alcoholic beverage. Recent class themes have included Warhol and Wine, Michelangelo and Margaritas, and Rembrandt and Rum.
The classes are led by Jenn Hunger of North Aurora, an art teacher in the local school district, but Kuster doesn't want anyone to feel intimidated.
"We're not handing out grades," Kuster said. "The big thing we want is to encourage people to be creative."
"We paint, we draw, we glue with kids," he said, but what happens when kids grow up to be adults and fall out of touch with their creative spark?
"We want to encourage the 'not so artistic' as well as the artistic to attend the night," Kuster said. "No matter your skill level, it will be a great evening. We believe that when given an opportunity, people of all ages love to be creative and express themselves."
The classes last about two hours, Kuster said, and students create their piece with acrylic-based paints.
"I think (acrylic paint) is by far one of the easiest to work with -- it blends well and dries fast," Kuster said. Hunger instructs students, step by step, in the painting process.
Although each class is paired with a featured drink, beer and wine are available for purchase, making Canvas and Cocktail Nights a good option for a date night or girls' night out.
"We hope this will be a fun, informative and exciting alternative night out for everyone," Kuster said.
In addition to Canvas and Cocktail Nights, Creator Gallery offers photography classes, a photo studio, and a 3,800-square-foot gallery where local artists' work is on display.
"Art and photography work well together," said Kuster, a Downers Grove native who has been a professional photographer for more than 20 years. "Having these two together creates a great environment for classes and social events. By creating this space, it makes art less intimidating."
The gallery, which accommodates up to 200 people, makes a great rental for weddings or other parties, Kuster said.
"I'm also talking to local artists where we'll have three to four different gallery events (per year)," he said. "It's our hope to support the arts community in Aurora and North Aurora; we've just started to get things rolling."
For more information, visit creatorgallery.com.