Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Grape Van Gogh opens on 17th Street

Amber Birch, owner of The Grape Van Gogh, a studio and performance space on 17th Street where participants can come to drink wine while they learn to paint.
If you've ever thought you might have a remnant of Rembrandt or a piece of Picasso inside you, Amber Birch of The Grape Van Gogh, 2289 E. 17th Street, would like to ease you into the process.

Birch, formerly a nurse at Bingham Memorial Hospital, opened her business this spring after visiting a paint and sip in Utah last year. It was in the middle of an eight-month vigil for her infant daughter Ava, who was at Primary Children's Medical Center until she passed away in November. In the middle of this emotionally devastating ordeal, a friend took her to drink wine and paint under the direction of an experienced art teacher.

"It was so freeing," she said.

Birch went on to do research and discovered that Pinot's Palette was rated one of Entrepreneur's top franchise opportunities of 2014. Painting With a Twist was another one. Although she could see the advantages of franchising, she decided to pattern Grape Van Gogh after those businesses while keeping her independence.

With 2,250 square feet and several tables, the business is big enough to accommodate large parties. Birch has four instructors -- Jaidyn Erickson, Becca Towler, Christa Nycamp and Tamarine Henslee -- who work from the stage, directing even first-time painters on how to get great results with acrylics.

A private party of adults must be 10 people or more, each paying $35. This covers the cost of instruction, canvas, brushes and paints. Kids' parties, ages 4 to 7, are $15 a person and $25 for kids 8 to 15. People 21 and over can bring their own beer or wine to functions. For youngsters, Birch has a bar equipped to serve Italian sodas.

A grand opening is scheduled for June 20. For more information, call 524-2202, visit the Grape Van Gogh's Web page here or its Facebook page here.