The national franchise inspires art education outside the classroom, and one local mom is bringing it to NoVA.
From knitting classes to gymnasiums for toddlers, there is no shortage of entertainment for NoVA’s kids. And later this fall, Northern Virginia will have a home for artistic play, structured creativity and pure fun for children 18 months through 12 years of age, thanks to one local mom.
Kidcreate Studio first opened in Minneapolis over 10 years ago by Lara Olson, who noticed a lack of art education in her young children’s school curriculums. Today, the brand has grown into a franchise with studios in 10 states, with Virginia being the latest addition to the company.
“Here in the area we are invested in making our kids great community members who are enthusiastic about their interests, and I think this studio will really help with that,” says Fairfax County resident Diane Greenbaum, who has plans to open Kidcreate late this fall in Old Town Alexandria (although the exact neighborhood has not been finalized yet). “When I thought about what I wanted to do next, this just made sense.”
Greenbaum previously worked in the corporate world, yet recently found that her current interest didn’t match with the same dreams she had as a 20-year-old. With Kidcreate, she’ll be able to dive into the company’s full-fledged curriculum, featuring about 1,000 lesson plans, in an effort to give children in NoVA a creative outlet.
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According to the eXtension Alliance for Better Child Care, the creative arts help support children’s growth in a variety of ways, including social, cognitive, emotional and physical development.
Kidcreate consists of programming for children between 18 months and 3 years, where parents stay alongside their child; a preschool program for those between 3 and 6 years of age; a curriculum for children ages 4 through 9, which is the most popular program; and an elementary school program for kids ages 5 through 12.
“Each lesson follows anywhere from art techniques to material use to just free-for-all painting, and we really stay in tune with what kids are into right now,” says founder Lara Olson. “Recently, we did a Harry Potter class where he flew through Van Gogh’s Starry Night. We like to incorporate a little more pizzazz than what the kids are used to at school.”
In addition to weekly structured lessons, Kidcreate has drop-in messy time, as well as an on-the-go division, which allows the team to bring art to you, whether that be at a birthday party, local organization or an after-school program. Parents can also submit requests to host birthday parties within the studio, which Greenbaum has already received, despite not yet having a set location for the site.
According to Greenbaum, she is hoping to sign a lease at a desired location within the next few weeks and open the doors before November’s end. Until then, she will continue to spread the word and scout for local talent in the Alexandria region to join the local branch of the company. Talent does not have to come in the form of an artist, though, but rather someone who is genuinely great with kids and isn’t afraid to get a little messy.
In Olson’s words, “If you don’t like glitter, it’s not the job for you.”