The Hippo


Aug 23, 2019








Courtesy of Wild Salamander.

Brighten your day
Art centers for kids

By Kelly Sennott

 Sometimes the best way to warm up a gloomy day is with art. Here are a handful of places in southern New Hampshire to bring the kids to, where they can explore all kinds of media, from painting and pottery to sewing and glass fusion. Some have drop-in options, and others have one-time or multi-day classes to choose from.

Art Happens
37 Wilton Road, Milford, 654-2287,
What it is: It was a paint-and-sip shop first, but Art Happens is also a place you can bring the kids for classes and workshops involving painting, drawing, fiber arts, mixed-media art, etc. There are also open studio/family paint time events when you can come in and create with no guided instruction (you get a canvas and access to all supplies without instruction for $15). 
Coolest attraction: The location, co-owner Liz Calabria said via phone. It’s inside an old mill building, with brick walls and an old crane system high in the ceiling, plus a skylight.
Special events: There’s an anime art workshop Saturdays, Nov. 5 and Nov. 12, at 10 a.m. for kids 9 and older, and an animal drawing class those same days at noon. Kids can paint with Santa on Sunday, Nov. 27, at 10 a.m.
Hours: The art center is open whenever there are classes happening; check the website for the schedule.
Cost: Cost varies from class to class depending on duration and media; most range in price from $60 to $120 for four- to six-week sessions.
Beck’s Arts Express 
89 Amherst St., Nashua, 781-910-3438
What it is: The art center, run by Rebecca Fredrickson, offers art classes, lessons, workshops, and camps in all different kinds of media including pastels, watercolors, clay, oil, acrylics, charcoal and pencil. Fredrickson said via phone she planned on incorporating new styles of workshops soon, like henna and balloons sculpting.
Coolest attraction: Starting this week, the art center will host a drop-in for toddlers and preschoolers, where she'll host age-appropriate crafts. Fredrickson said the small size of the business allows her to customize the programs to customer needs.
Special events: The art center hosts holiday gift-making workshops in November, dates TBA.
Hours: By appointment. 
Cost: $10 to $25.
The Canvas Roadshow
25 S. River Road, Bedford, 943-2103,
What it is: This paint-and-sip art center offers after-school art classes for kids that involve painting and a variety of other media.
Coolest attraction: The “pick your own painting” activity, said owner Debbie Ellis, where anyone can come and pick out what they want to paint from hundreds of designs. There’s also wine and beer for moms and dads to enjoy while their kids work.
Special events: Ellis said the business holds regular themed parties; the latest Halloween bash featured face-painting, karoake, a photographer and costumes, and the next holiday-themed celebration is Saturday, Dec. 10, at 2 p.m.
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Wednesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Cost: On average, $15 to $35.
Creative Ventures Gallery
28-1 Route 101A, Amherst, 672-2500,
What it is: The year-old art center houses a studio, gallery and class space in an unassuming house on Route 101, where members teach drawing and painting to kids, teens and adults.
Coolest attraction: Because the space also has artist studios, on any given day you'll find several artists working there so kids can see the magic happen on the spot.
Special events: It hosts a holiday show and sale on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 10 a.m.
Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m., Thursday from noon to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Cost: About $15 to $25 per class, depending on the duration. 
Currier Museum of Art
150 Ash St., Manchester, 669-6144,; Art Center is at 180 Pearl St., Manchester
What it is: The art museum features artwork from all over the world, plus a special rotating exhibition that typically has an activity section for kids; the latest is “Mount Washington: The Crown of New England.” For kids who want to be more active in their art, the Currier Art Center is just down the street and offers a wide range of educational opportunities, from fine art to craft, for kids of all ages.
Coolest attraction: The Discovery Gallery, which is inside the museum and designed for kids of all ages, is recommended by Steve Konick, Currier director of PR and marketing. There are hands-on activities, books and places to exhibit art.
Special events: Free New Hampshire Saturday, during which Granite Staters get in the museum free before noon. The next is Saturday, Nov. 12. There’s also an Art Center open house Saturday, Nov. 19, noon to 4 p.m.
Hours: Sunday, Monday and Wednesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Museum admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors, $10 for students, $5 for youth, free for members and children younger than 13, special $5 exhibition fee to see “Mount Washington: The Crown of New England;” art workshops and classes feature additional prices that vary depending on the media and duration.
Kimball Jenkins School of Art
266 N. Main St., Concord, 225-3932,
What it is: The art center regularly hosts drawing, oil, watercolor, ceramics and printmaking classes for kids, plus summer and teen arts camps.
Coolest attraction: There are two art galleries here — the Carolyn Jenkins Gallery and the Jill Wilson Gallery — that feature rotating shows with art by locals and students. 
Special events: The next big events for kids are in 2017: Alice in Wonderland-themed tea parties and fairy festivals, which have attracted as many as 80 kids at once.
Hours: Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday or by appointment
Cost: Prices vary per class; visit the site for details.
The Place Studio & Gallery
40 Thorndike St., Concord, 369-4906,
What it is: The drop-in “do-it-yourself” art and craft center is almost like an art makerspace for kids where you can come in and make as you please. At the ready is a large selection of prepared canvases, pre-fired ceramics and other materials. The Place also hosts regular classes and workshops that involve glass painting, drawing, Zentangle, decoupage, alcohol ink, etc.
Coolest attraction: Owner and founder Christa Zuber recommended the decoupage shelf at the art center, where kids can buy items to decoupage (a “fancy French word for gluing paper to something,” Zuber said) or bring their own item to decoupage. “Kids can decoupage anything from a small box to a dinosaur or pumpkin,” Zuber said via phone. “We have scrapbook paper, comic books, music sheets, tissue paper and magazines for them to use.”
Special events: There’s a Family Day sale the Friday after Thanksgiving, details to be announced closer to the event.
Hours: Tuesday and Wednesday by appointment, Thursday and Friday from 4 to 9 p.m., Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. and Sunday by appointment.
Cost: Materials start at $2, all-day studio time ranges in price from $6 to $10 and art and craft instruction classes vary but are around $20 per person.
Studio 550
550 Elm St., Manchester, 232-5597,
What it is: The pottery, stained glass and general art studio contains a rotating gallery and space for kids and adults to “play” and make art. The studio has also hosted a variety of events, from a summer chalk art competition to a high school clay challenge.
Coolest attraction: The movement studio, which hosts all kinds of classes from Scottish highland dancing to yoga. The latest addition is a monthly toddler sensory play group aimed at kids ages 1 to 4. 
Special events: Every Saturday afternoon the Studio hosts a family clay workshop, and every first Saturday, a family pottery workshop.
Hours: Mondays from 3 to 9 p.m., Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 to 9 p.m., Wednesdays from 6 to 9 p.m., Thursdays from 3 to 9 p.m., Fridays from 3 to 9 p.m., Saturdays from 1 to 9 p.m.
Cost: Some events, like exhibition openings and empty bowls workshops, are free; things like the toddler playgroup are $8 a child, while art workshops are typically $15 to $30.
Time to Clay
228 Daniel Webster Highway, Nashua, 888-0462,
What it is: A drop-in studio where you can paint pottery, create fused glass art or clay creations (though owner Debbi Grimard recommends the latter only for older kids or kids whose parents are there to help). There are also classes and camps throughout the year.
Coolest attraction: “The vibe,” Grimard said via phone. The studio is painted light purple with dark purple trim. It has 16-foot ceilings and “explosions” of color on the walls and shelves in the form of art samples and glass art. The night before, Grimard said, staff were doing the hokey-pokey with customers.
Special events: Kidz Nite Out, which is aimed at kids ages 6 and older and happens about twice a month.
Hours: Monday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
Cost: The cost of the item painted, no studio fee; average price is between $15 and $20.
Wild Salamander Art Center
30 Ash St., Hollis, 465-9453,
What it is: Located in an old Hollis farm house, the art center offers classes for toddlers (“Toddler Studio”), elementary schoolers (like “Imagination Lab,” which focuses on using materials in new and inventive ways) and older kids (like fine art, sewing and fashion design workshops).
Coolest attraction: The Little Wild ArtShop recently underwent an expansion and renovation; now the downstairs of the house is also filled with work by local artisans, from jewelry and prints to cards. 
Special events: Art center co-owner KC Morgan suggested the “canvas and cocoa meetups,” which start in November.
Hours: Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2:30 to 7:30 p.m.; Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to noon and 2:30 to 7:30 p.m.; Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: Workshops typically cost around $35. Class prices vary depending on the media and duration; some go for as little as $15 per week.
You’re Fired
25 S. River Road, Bedford, 641-3473; 133 Loudon Road, Concord, 226-3473; 264 N. Broadway, Salem, 894-5456; 4 Coliseum Ave., Nashua, 204-5559,
What it is: Paint your own pottery; choose your piece (there are more than 1,500 bisques, according to the website) and your paints and the company does the firing in its kilns for patrons to pick up in a week.
Coolest attraction: In addition to pottery, kids can make mosaics from a variety of wood cutouts, which they can bring home right away, said Devin Muldowney, Bedford manager, via phone.
Special events: Friday is teen night, with half off the studio fee, and on Mondays kids 12 and younger get half off the studio fees.
Hours: Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
Cost: $6 studio fee for kids $8 for adults, plus the cost of an item; most are around $15. 

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