Smudge hopes to foster 'messy' creativity

Photos by DEREK OPERLE | The Sun

Joanna Wright, 2, of Paducah, concentrates while she works with stamps during a small event Tuesday at Smudge, a new Paducah art studio aimed at allowing children to freely roam and choose their creative ventures.

Creativity can be messy, and at Smudge, the newest art studio in town, that is exactly the plan.

Co-owned by mother-daughter duo Becky Clark and Sarah Farris, the creative space is billed as a "walk-in, mess-making, fun art studio" for folks of all ages, though the pair are going to focus on programming for kids to start.

"We're in the very beginning stages. It's all baby steps right now," Clark said.

In the future, Clark and Farris hope to expand their programming choices.

"We eventually hope to be able to have classes for adults, but for now there are taller easels if people want to come paint with their kids," Farris said. "As we get open and start adding classes on the calendar, we're hoping to have some paint nights, parties and other events. Eventually we want to have people come in that can teach actual art skills and techniques."

After the studio opens July 9, Smudge will be available for Art Play, a 90-minute session that allows children -- along with their parents -- to freely roam around space and interact with art supplies and stations. The studio also can be booked for private parties and classes.

"We pretty much have all the art supplies you can think of," Farris said. "Lego, magnet and dry erase boards, easels, paper and paint, stamps, Play-Doh, markers, crayons, cardboard, tape, glue. If you can think of it, we've probably got it. They can come in and basically just imagine it, create it and enjoy themselves."

Clark and Farris hope Smudge will create an environment that fosters creativity, play and independence in children, allowing them a place to "take a mental break" from screens and learn what kind of creative act best suits them on their own time.

"It seems like everywhere you look, kids are on screens," explained Farris, who is currently raising her first child. "I think this is just a good place for kids to be off of those for a little while and use their imagination."

"Kids are at a much higher stress level these days," added Clark, a retired Clark Elementary School teacher. "When do children get to have fun and just play?

"When children come in here, they get to make choices. Recesses are limited nowadays in the schools and everything is just so regimented in these kids' lives. We want as much freedom of decision as possible in here."

Smudge, located at 2225 Broadway St., will be open six days a week, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. All children must be accompanied with an adult.

More information can be found at www.smudgepaducah.com or by calling 270-709-3029.

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