Artists Guild Offers Bottle & Brush

Jennifer Aldrich (far left) leads Bottle & Brush, a social painting event, every Friday at Artists Guild.

A few years ago, Jennifer Aldrich lived in St. Petersburg, Florida – she lost her job, her partner and felt compelled to visit the local Home Depot, buy some boards and start painting on them. “I didn’t know what I was doing,” laughs the Green Bay native with a background in photography. “But there was something there.”

She continued painting and set her sights on Door County. “I wanted to live in Door County – to be around artists,” says Aldrich, who now works at Artists Guild in downtown Sturgeon Bay – an arts supply store that offers classes, framing, art storage, and more.

“This is like an art beehive,” laughs Aldrich, “like a coffee shop, people come in to talk about art. We help people using a certain medium, offer suggestions. People bring in what they are working on. It’s so fun to share in that, have that community – beginners to really advanced come in and share ideas.”

Though the Artists Guild, owned by Sarah and Jeff Bradley, works with artists of all skill levels – they strive to encourage novice artists of all ages to come in and see where their creativity takes them.

With that in mind, Aldrich approached the Bradleys about hosting a social painting event, Bottle & Brush.

“Bottle & Brush comes from this idea that started in New Orleans, a chain called Painting with a Twist – now there’s also Cork N Canvas, Paint & Party,” explains Aldrich. The concept is simple: bring a bunch of folks together over some wine (or beer or juice or water if they wish) and put a brush in their hand in a relaxed atmosphere.

A participate of Bottle & Brush completes a painting.

“We decided to try it,” says Aldrich, “and gradually people started catching on.” Since last August, Aldrich has led Bottle & Brush every Friday at the Artists Guild from 6:15 – 8:15 pm.

“You don’t have to have any experience, you’re just painting,” explains Aldrich. “We want people to not feel afraid to put paint on canvas. We trace an outline of a painting and I teach them how to go from there and finish a painting. Every week is different, but real simple. It’s not a how-to or a one-on-one – it’s for anybody!”

Those who attend (reservations required) are welcome to bring along a beverage and/or snacks. Repeat attendance is welcome, and common.

“People come back,” smile Aldrich. “A group of gals came back seven times! They gave their paintings away as Christmas presents, and told stories about how impressed their sons and daughters were, how they didn’t know they were creative. Everyone is creative!”

Bottle & Brush has also encouraged some participants to pursue art further. “It’s turned them on to painting. They realize it’s not as scary as they thought,” says Aldrich, who adds, “We suggest new classes – Art Fundamentals. It’s a try before you buy class. You can try a medium and see if you like it before you buy all the supplies. If you like it you can take the next step.”

Thursday, Feb. 27, Door County Women in Business presents a special Bottle & Brush networking event at Artists Guild, 6 – 8pm. (Reservations are required by Feb. 24.)

Regular Bottle & Brush events are held every Friday. For more information call 920.743.9900, visit, or stop by the Artists Guild, open daily, located at 215 N Third Ave, Sturgeon Bay.

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