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Woman opens new art studio on Lawrenceville square

Photo: Andrew McMurtrie. Joanne Hunter, who runs The Place an Art Studio and Playroom, stands in front of her work in the Lawrenceville studio. The Place features two art classes - Canvas & Cocktails, which is designed for an affordable date night activity so customers can bring in drinks and appetizers while they work on their own art work, as well as Mom & Me classes in which parents and their children can come and create together. The Place is located in Magnolias Gifts in downtown Lawrenceville.

Photo: Andrew McMurtrie. Joanne Hunter, who runs The Place an Art Studio and Playroom, stands in front of her work in the Lawrenceville studio. The Place features two art classes - Canvas & Cocktails, which is designed for an affordable date night activity so customers can bring in drinks and appetizers while they work on their own art work, as well as Mom & Me classes in which parents and their children can come and create together. The Place is located in Magnolias Gifts in downtown Lawrenceville.

LAWRENCEVILLE -- From a mommy and me moment to a girls night out, Joanne Hunter believes all are occasions for art.

So when the mother of four wandered into an antique and gift shop in downtown Lawrenceville, her vision for a unique art studio blossomed.

Last week, Hunter and Lynn Hinds cut a ribbon on The Place, the studio in the back of Magnolia's shop, bringing the canvas and cocktails concept into the suburbs.

"I was looking for something like this for me to do and my kids to do," Hunter said. "There's stuff in Atlanta and up north. I decided I wanted to start a place I wanted to go to."

Through private parties, classes and one-on-one session, Hunter has already taught dozens of people, ages 4 to 81.

"You couldn't believe what she can do. She's very patient," said Hinds, the owner of Magnolia's. She said a friend, who couldn't even draw a stick figure before the class had a great time and came out with a masterpiece. "(The friend) couldn't believe she'd done it. She was so proud of herself."

In just a few short weeks, kids have created crazy faces out of recycled door handles and kitchen utensils, a 30th birthday bash brought gales of laughter and tons of paint and mothers and daughters have bonded while creating windchimes out of cups and saucers.

"I don't want anybody to leave and throw their canvas in the trash," Hunter said. "Most parents don't care what it looks like. They are just glad they took the time."

Classes are typically scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, with date night lessons Fridays at 7 p.m., although the schedule changes based on bookings. Drop-ins are welcome to most classes.

Private parties can accommodate two to 14 people, and participants are friend to bring food and drinks.

The cost ranges from $25 to $35 per person, including supplies although a mom and me is counted as one.

For more information or to reserve your spot, call Magnolia's at 404-736-6605.