MADISON, Wis. (April 28, 2014) – There’s a new trend brushing its way across Wisconsin – art bars. And we can’t think of a better way to unleash your inner Picasso than with a paintbrush in one hand and a glass of wine or craft beer in the other. Many businesses across the state have opened up to cater to this fun trend. Come for a painting lesson, a drink or two, and leave with a handmade masterpiece all your own. The best part? They handle the clean up.

Whether it’s a date night, girl’s night out or even a corporate event, a painting bar is an exceptional and memorable way to spend an evening. Here are a few options where fun is just a paint stroke away.

1. Fun without a long-term commitment: Splash Studio, Milwaukee
This painting bar caters to all types. Come in, grab a drink, and sit down in front of a canvas. Try a small canvas for a quick 30-minute “mini painting,” or stay for a full class. Splash also offers a three-hour experience with a local artist. That artist will guide you through an original painting from a painting library, show you tips and tricks, and encourage you to take painting risks you never thought you had the skill to take. You can follow along exactly, change up colors and techniques to make it your own, or just paint whatever moves you in the moment. After a recent expansion, Splash now offers bachelorette parties, corporate events and other large groups the chance to use the VIP Milwaukee Room for private get-togethers.

2. Three ways is better than one: Arte Wine and Painting Studio, Wauwatosa and Delafield

At Arte Wine and Painting Studio, you can tackle your painting experience three ways. For those who want step-by-step guided instructions from an artist, sign up for a nightly class and pick your painting of choice; all supplies are included. Or, if you prefer a more laid back, fly by the stroke of your brush experience, reserve a table in the paint bar. Guests have three canvas sizes to choose from and all studio servers are local artists that can assist you with your order and your artwork. Not ready to explore your inner artist just yet, or maybe you appreciate the arts more than being an actual artist? Come for a drink or special event. Arte Wine and Painting Studio has a full bar with art inspired craft cocktails, a great wine selection and local beers and also offers unique events like poetry readings and live music to show love to all forms of art.

3. For unlimited spirits: Pass the Paint/Pass the Wine, DePere
The second and fourth Sunday of every month is Pass the Paint/Pass the Wine at the Green Room Lounge in DePere. For $20, you’ll be supplied with a canvas, paint, brushes and a bottomless glass of wine (or soda). However, this isn't your average art bar. Think more along the lines of musical chairs meets painting. Guests paint for 15 minutes at a time, and then switch canvases with someone else in the group. It’s improvised collaborative painting, with no experience necessary. Each final piece is truly unique with a stroke of everyone’s point of view… just make sure to bring your artsy friends. Want to take home your masterpiece? Purchase your canvas for a small fee, and all proceeds go to local charities. Maybe the painting didn’t turn out exactly how you envisioned – that’s okay too. Leave it at the Lounge and they will display it in their unique gallery.

4. Don’t Drink the Paint: Racine and Sturtevant
Held at Paul’s Pub in Racine and Grapes 2 Glass in Sturtevant, Don’t Drink the Paint’s classes typically take two hours and currently are held on weeknights, with one or two weekend dates each month. Most classes are $35 and include a canvas, acrylic paints, brushes, other supplies, and, of course, a cocktail. Come alone to experience your creative side or bring along friends, family, or even groups. Acrylic painting is forgiving, so don’t worry about mistakes. Just remember, don’t drink the paint!

5. For low stress, high fun: A Stroke of Genius, Waukesha
This painting and wine studio in Waukesha has everything you need for a fun and creative night out. The gallery is large, and allows for private parties of up to 35 people. The painting options for your private party or regular night at the art bar features unique paintings, as well as replicas of the great masters like Van Gogh or Renoir. Who knows, after a glass of wine, your painting might fit right in. Follow step-by-step instructions from the lead artist and create a masterpiece of your very own.

6. Painting in 3D: Hands on Art Studio, Fish Creek
Hands On Art Studio is a do-it-yourself Door County destination. The studio not only offers painting, it offers 8,000 square feet of creative fun. No reservations are needed, just come in at your leisure, pay a studio price of $7, and get free reign of all four studio spaces that include activities such as jewelry making, pottery painting, metal sculpture, mosaics and more (pay separately for your activities of choice). Take home your masterpieces the same day, have them shipped or arrange for pick up. Want a fun evening away from the kids? Come for “Adult Night,” which features live music, pottery painting, and local beer and wine available for purchase. 

7. For the "no training wheels needed": Vino & Van Gogh, Madison
Vino & Van Gogh Madison offers private painting parties for 10 or more artists and occasional classes as well. Being completely mobile means they bring the painting and all the supplies to your home. If you’re nervous you’ll get more paint on the carpet than on your canvas, you can choose to visit one of the many establishments in Madison where Vino & Van Gogh teaches. Choose a painting – whether it be a Van Gogh or a certain theme – you’ll find something for the whole group to enjoy. As Vino & Van Gogh says, if you can drink, you can paint! No experience is necessary.

8. All around town: Paint Nite Events, Southeastern Wisconsin
Not tied to a specific location, but interested in finding the painting event that speaks to you? Try Paint Nite Events. This website pulls painting night options from throughout southeastern Wisconsin – Milwaukee, Racine, Lake Geneva and more – and tells you what locations offer what lessons on what days. It’s simple – search by artist, by painting, by venue or even by special events to find the right place for you. The bar may not necessarily be a painting bar, but turns into one for the evening with all supplies (and wine) needed.

As if you need one more reason to visit an art bar, help the Wisconsin Arts Board toast their 40th anniversary by saying “cheers!” and grabbing a brush. Go to to find other outlets to express your creativity.

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