What would you do if you found yourself face to face with a fabulous group of highly educated and intelligent women, a common love of children and art, and a home with room to spare?
Gretchen Stephan looked at the jigsaw pieces and saw a business in the making. Together, she and three of her best playground buddies began Whitehall Farm Art Studio, 301 Wood St.
"Here were all of these incredible moms that I spent time with on the playground," Stephan said, "with lots of skills and power and a love for children. I was astounded by how insanely intelligent they all were, and I thought what can I do to continue to stay home with my children and surround myself with this level of intellect."
Stephan, who is a former computer web animator with a Masters degree in fine art, often found herself lonely when home with her children.
"I love people, and I'm bright," Stephan said, "so I found myself longing for more."
Whitehall Farm Art Studio offers her more.
"Everyone brings business experience to the table," Stephan said. "But each of us has our own unique abilities too. We complement each other."
Whitehall Farm Art Studio is unique in that it combines both art and science into the curriculum. There are teachers on the staff with an education degree and an understanding of childhood development. Whitehall Farm Art Studio offer multi-media paper arts, painting and science.
"We like to explain the medium in scientific terms," Stephan said. "Our classes are process oriented, and I believe through experience kids learn more. I also believe that science and art are always linked."
The art studio, which is located in Stephan's home, was once an in-law apartment and is now a large open space full of light and color. The table draws kids in like magnets, and the paintbrushes and other tools, within easy reach of a child's hands, invite them to experiment.
"This is all about community," Stephan said. "We are happy to take the show on the road for scout troops or other organizations, but when we are here, we want the studio to be inviting."
Stephan and her fellow business owners, Erin Graziano, Rebecca Micucci and Rachel Murkett have plans to add an art library and a computer lab.
"As a former web animator, I would like to incorporate that into the business," Stephan said.
Whitehall Farm Art Studio is an inclusive studio able to take on special needs children. They are happy to run a birthday party in your home or their studio, and they are currently accepting applications for fall enrollment.
"At the end of the day this is a hippie co-op," Stephan quipped. "This enables everyone to do what they love - stay home with their kids and, hopefully, make some money."
To learn more about the staff, the art or upcoming classes visit the website or call 508-544-9638.