Situated amid the landscape of popular retailers near RIO Washingtonian Center’s “movie district,” the new Muse Paintbar, which officially opened July 6, promises an artful gathering place and more of the creative flair Montgomery County residents embrace.
Webster’s defines “muse” as “a source of inspiration.” Accordingly, Muse’s president and co-creator Stan Finch puts inspiration into every inch — from the skilled art instruction to the interior ambiance to the food and beverage menus.
Is it a studio? Is it a wine bar? Is it a restaurant? Yes, to all three. If you had to call it one thing, you might call it an “experience.”
The Gaithersburg location joins the family of 18 other Muse Paintbars throughout New England and the D.C. metro area. All are built on the concept of blending paint coaching with a diverse selection of wine and tapas for public and private events.
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The studio comfortably accommodates private parties ranging from birthday and bachelorette parties to couples’ nights out. Guests may come solo or with friends to paint and enjoy a glass of wine for no special reason or occasion. Plan to spend a few hours; come early for food and drink. The menu features small plates, bigger bites, desserts, with gluten-free and vegan options.
Muse’s 2,800-square-foot studio complements RIO Washingtonian Center’s lively lakefront complex, where visitors can take in summertime outdoor evening concerts, paddleboat rides, dining, children’s rides, duck-feeding and strolls along the mile-long waterside wellness path. Like all these activities, Muse is friendly to families, singles and couples alike.
With the Kentlands Arts Barn to its west and the happenings at Bohrer Park to its north, Muse gives area residents another cultural attraction close to home. “We’re excited to open in the bustling RIO Washingtonian Center,” said Finch. “Given the community’s thriving arts culture, we couldn’t be more pleased to open our new studio surrounded by such creativity and inspiration.”
A Muse spokesperson noted that “Muse is the perfect venue for date night, a birthday celebration or a night out with friends, offering a variety of painting sessions each week that are open to everyone, regardless of artistic skill level.” The venue is also available for private parties, including charity fundraisers, business social events, and children’s birthday parties (for patrons age 8-plus). Children’s birthday parties at Muse allow children to create while parents socialize and enjoy a beverage. Muse staffers set up, clean up and instruct up to a minimum of 10 budding Picassos per party. Family nights are also scheduled two or three times a month and feature discounted pricing.
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For those who haven’t put on a smock since grade school, Muse offers a comfortable environment to get in touch with or cultivate hidden talents. “Muse allows local artists to share our passion and create art in a fun, relaxed atmosphere,” said co-founder and lead artist Vanessa Leigh. “Art can be intimidating, but we break down barriers by providing simple directions that allow people to gain confidence. By the end of the session, they’ve had fun and can take home an original work of art.”
What can you expect? You don’t need to bring anything with you. Acrylic paint, canvases and aprons are provided. Professional local artists will guide you to a finished piece that can be displayed at home or given as a gift. All artists need to eat, so food and drink is available to consume while you create.
Classes average $35 per person, but prices may vary for special events or sessions. It’s important to note that Muse donates five percent of profits to local causes and charities. Muse also offers gift certificates and private party painting sessions — these are fresh alternatives to company outings, birthday dinners, as well as retirement, anniversary and bachelorette parties.
Fun. That’s the ultimate end product at Muse Paintbar. If your painting is mantle-worthy, all the better.
Muse Paintbar is located at 225 Boardwalk Place, Gaithersburg. Call 301-327-2500 or visit www.musepaintbar.com. Reservations are recommended.