Whether you need to plan an activity for visiting friends, you long to find something new for the kids to do or you want to scratch your own creative itch, you’ll be glad to know there are several places to make art in Skagit County. They range from drop-in spots for casual artists to galleries that offer classes for people looking to try a new medium or up their game in work they’re already doing. Check out where to create art in Skagit County.
501 Commercial Avenue, Anacortes
As unique as Anacortes itself, Johnny Picasso’s place is as much a community hangout as it is an art studio. Order a bite to eat and discover that the food is a star of the show here, whether you choose a Rembrandt panini for lunch or a fresh-baked scone and cup of coffee for breakfast.
Stay to paint a bisque pottery piece, and Johnny will fire it for you. Bring the kids along and let them choose a piece to embellish, or contact Johnny to throw a painting party for your friends. When you’re finished with your masterpiece, browse the Red Snapper shop inside Johnny Picasso’s and find gag gifts, puzzles, cool socks and other must-haves.
Mad Hatter Metal Works
7489 S. Dillard Ave, Concrete
The Mad Hatter is an eclectic mix of gallery, museum and antique store, plus there are classes you can take. It’s worth a visit to this “upriver” spot in an old Harley dealership even if you don’t take a class! Owner Beki Howard and her crew display and sell unique metalwork, paintings, photography, charcoal sketches and jewelry. The business is known for its warmth and friendly spirit.
Upcoming classes include basic welding and metal art, oil and watercolor painting and jewelry work. Workshops for kids are on the horizon too, including decoupage and finger painting. “Youngsters can complete and take home their work in about an hour, and scholarships are available for lower income kids,” Beki says. Bookmark the Facebook page to get all the news and find out other big plans Beki has.
Red Barn Art Studio
7929 Thomas Road, Bow
Katie Walton’s Red Barn Art Studio is tucked away in the beautiful farm country near Bow. After its launch a decade ago as a place for kids’ art classes, the Red Barn has become the hub of the local creative community. “I’ve been teaching adults and children year ‘round, non-stop for 10 years, and offering classes, camps and art parties,” Katie says. Katie is a mosaic and ceramic artist who creates work in vivid colors and bold designs. She believes self-expression enhances the well-being of all people.
In the summer, Katie enjoys collaborating with Sheena Wilson of Home Grown Blooms to host Garden Arty Parties. You’re invited to pick your own bouquet, learn about floral design from Sheena and try your hand at a watercolor painting of your creation with help from Katie. Check out the Red Barn website to learn more and find out what’s coming up.
809 Eastern Avenue, Sedro-Woolley
Milo White, owner of this combination art gallery/studio, invites you to stop in and get inspired. You’ll see works by several artists in metal, wood, glass, clay and other mediums. When you find your creativity sparked, ask about upcoming workshops. The permanent 2D and 3D artists at Trinky Busiu will soon be offering sessions for those who want to try their hand at fused glass, clay and metalwork.
Milo and his team will also open up a B&B in the near future for artists who would like to stay and work for a few days in Sedro-Woolley. Keep an eye on the website!
Tri Dee Arts
215 S. 1st Street, Mount Vernon
Tri Dee Arts has anchored a prominent corner at the foot of the bridge over the Skagit River in historic Mount Vernon for years. Extensive retail offerings include art supplies, retro toys, games, puzzles, books and more.
Owner Summer Houlihan and her staff present a variety of opportunities for kids and adults to get creative. In the Glazed space you can paint pottery that Tri Dee will fire. No reservations are needed, you can just drop in! The Make Art Studio is home to classes and workshops for beginners and more experienced artists in sculpture, acrylics, recycled art and more.
Believing “No one wants to be indoors during beautiful weather,” Summer says, Tri Dee offers weekly “Tie Dye Tuesdays” out in back during the warmer months. Staff and community artists regularly cook up other ideas such as dinosaur painting and luminary making. Facebook is a good place to find out what’s coming up.
Skagit County Libraries
If you have kids and options for them are limited near you, visit your nearest library’s website. You’ll find that in many locations, the staff has created age-appropriate “take and make” kits for children to enjoy. At the Burlington Public Library, for instance, the kits for the 7- to 12-year-olds focus on STEAM learning, while the kits for younger kids offer more in the way of arts and crafts.
The Anacortes Public Library has put together options for kids as well, including several online videos to watch and create along with at home. Visit this page to find videos on drawing animals, rock painting, mixed media and other activities.
Every library in the county, large or small, has ideas for firing your children’s imagination. It’s worthwhile to see what’s available in your town.