Arlington Art Studio
Why start now?
“In 2004, I worked in the Office of Admissions for the University of Memphis...we had so many calls for art classes, people would call “for my kid, for me, it was pre everything—where can we do this?? Options were local private art lessons…” Ashley Burns, co-owner of The Little Studio on the Square, continued, “The concept of where to go didn’t exist—to have fun OR to hone skills.”
A new segment has grown up and it’s an area that is needed. We have lessons for sports, dance, and now art for our children and for adults.
The studio is offering paint camps, paint parties, lessons, things that are available in New York, in California, things that our kids deserve here, as well. “We were going to start small, a little at a time,” Burns explained. “It just didn’t turn out that way.”
Four years ago, Burns started teaching at Arlington Middle, started meeting people, “It’s such a great community, just amazing—a whole Southern family lifestyle, people honestly care.” She smiled, “we lived in Memphis when I first started and at first I complained about the drive out, but as I learned about the area it became more, “I WANT my kids to grow up here.” Her husband Paul began looking for a building, and as luck would have it, the Happy Heart was leaving. “If this building hadn’t come up, we wouldn’t have been doing it this soon,” she finished, “The entire thing was a God thing. Roadblocks would come up, but were all handled literally by God. The internet—they said it would be a month before it would be installed, but they had a cancellation and it was installed within an hour. Just tons of things like that,” Burns beamed as she was talking about their beginnings.
The Burns family’s heart is in this to make a difference in the community. They have events for cancer fighters and survivors, the Veterans’ Home, and Shepherd’s Haven. It is an inclusive place for all types of people. “It’s our prayer to touch people and make a difference in their lives.” Ashley smiled and continued, “Recently, we watched a kid who had just moved here and knew no one, he came to a camp and ended up finding friends—but the best part was watching the parents face as they watched him make connections, watched him just be happy.”
According to Burns, “Art has the ability to open minds, to ‘Awesome’—something that wasn’t cool just turns to awesome. Art starts small and plants seeds until art is cool.” Burns hopes to see kids that want to become an art director, a designer, monster maker—even a fine artist. “Art is yours, you make it yours.” Her teaching staff helps get that point across. They are all master artists or master's apprentices.
At the time of the interview, Shark Week was in progress at the studio, following a super-hero camp the week before. Kids can come for a two hour camp or just freestyle for an hour. On September 15th, there will be an art workshop for kids and on October 21st, they will be Painting the town with Glenda Brown in a Plain Air paint off in conjunction with the last music on the square.
Prior to Halloween, they will also be painting Halloween masks, giving out treat bags, and there will be a pumpkin patch to paint!
This year, they will be doing something completely new —a Fall Break camp for kids from Kindergarten through High School. They offer many different times and difficulty levels, ranging from simple and fun to more serious skill development.
For adults, they offer ‘You Had Me at Wine’ parties with higher-caliber projects. At this event, you can create something that you will be proud to hang up in your home while relaxing and socializing with your friends. They are even going to be holding Parents’ Night Out evenings on Saturdays from 6-9 pm for the first 20 people who sign up for it.
In the years ahead, The Little Studio on The Square hopes to replicate what they are doing in Arlington, and maybe even add intensive lessons, more space to work with our artists locally, or even pay-as-you-go art space. Burns added, “And lots more—lots of goals and ideas for the future—watch us grow!” They also plan on adding fun things like Mother’s and Father’s Day and Christmas gifts where the kids can create their own presents for family members.
Above all, the Burns want this place to be where the community can come together in a warm and accessible environment, no matter someone’s age or ability level. They hope to make a difference in the community. “We want people to come and experience Arlington.”