iArt Studios owner Sandy Fariss said she often jokes that her art studio is “Owensboro’s Best Kept Secret.” Open since 2015 and located in Swiss Colony Plaza, which is behind Wesleyan Park Plaza, the studio offers paint-your-own ceramics in an open studio atmosphere.
Fariss said that she entered an art contest in the fifth grade and won, which compelled her to begin studying art. In college, she said the art education market “was saturated,” so she took art studio classes for therapy while working on her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in public administration while she was in the military.
As she was considering retirement, Fariss noticed that elementary and secondary education was dropping arts programs and she felt the market for an art studio was there.
“I also felt not all children were athletes, dancers, gymnasts, etc. — some just love art,” Fariss said. “And this was a place for artists to come and be inspired.”
Beyond the walk-in paint-your-own ceramics, iArt offers parties for adults and children and specialty parties for birthdays or organizations.
When she retired in February 2016, Fariss completed her Associates in Fine Arts – Visual Arts degree.
“We have hosted a few off-site parties for 100-plus artists,” Fariss said.
iArt Studios is open every Thursday through Saturday from 1 to 5:30 p.m., but appointments can be made outside those hours.
“We have things to glaze from dogs to princesses, platters to bowls, canisters to banks,” Fariss said. “The selection is big and many [clients] come back again and again.”
Holidays are a busy time at iArt studios with parents bringing children in to make handprint and footprint plates.
“And if you aren’t an artist, we are always on hand to help or even paint it for you,” Fariss said.
In addition to the studio, Fariss also offers two art classes for students ages 6 to 12 each semester. Students are introduced to many forms of art and work in different mediums throughout the class, including drawing, charcoal, painting, multimedia, ceramics and sculpting.
“It gives the children a chance to explore what they might like best by trying everything art related and stimulating their own senses in relation to the many art forms,” Fariss said. “It’s just a great environment — unlike school — without pressure to develop their own skills at their own pace.”
Several of Fariss’ students take more than one class and she said a “handful” have been working with her since she opened.
“Every year many of my students are selected for the annual school art show hosted by the Owensboro and Daviess County Public Schools,” Fariss said.
In the summer, iArt Studios offers three to four art camps that filled in April.
She also teaches an 8-week adult pottery class that runs three to four times a year. There is also a 90-minute pottery class that can be scheduled by appointment.
In August, Fariss travels to destinations that have museums or local art so she can find inspiration for her classes.
She often enters a few shows and sales with my personal art in-between time spent in the studio.
“It’s just a wonderful and inspiring place to visit,” Fariss said.
You can find iArt Studios at www.iartstudios.com, on Facebook and on Instagram at iartstudios_owensboro.