beARTrageous launches preschool drop-off program

Credit: Michele Elin (l), Robyn Cruey and Amanda Vallone are launching a drop-off preschool program at the beARTrageous studio in Kenwood. Photo by Michelle Bruch

At beARTrageous, Kenwood residents often come to the door with bags full of art supplies and recycled odds and ends. All of those donations go into a recycled art station for kids to use in projects — SpongeBob is on display, made from an old granola bar box.

Preschoolers between ages two and five can sort through the art supplies in a new drop-off program starting this fall, which teaches the ABCs through the arts and creative play.

The new program was created in partnership with Robyn Cruey of I Heart Kids’ Art, who closed her Linden Hills studio last August.

“We started talking and realized how similar our passions were,” Cruey said. “It’s so important to have these studios available in the city.”

Cruey said kids can learn a lot through art, simply through the process of envisioning a piece and setting out to create it.

Even at preschool age, art helps kids feel confident in exploring who they are, said Michele Elin, co-owner of the studio.

On drop-off days, co-owner Amanda Vallone often sees parents take advantage of the neighborhood shops. They stop at Birchbark Books to browse the shelves, meet a friend for coffee at The Kenwood, and linger at the studio to make artwork with their kids.

“Families want that bond and don’t want to make a mess at home,” Vallone said.

beARTrageous also offers classes for adults that build on Elin’s experience as a life coach and Best Buy teambuilding staffer. Classes include monthly canvas paint nights for adults, after-school classes for kids and open studio nights for teens.