Art and wine events are a bit of a commonplace around Santa Clara. There’s the annual art and wine festival, which combines the pair for a fun–filled weekend each summer and wine is often sold at various art events throughout the city. The two just seem to go together.
In recent years, painting parties have started springing up, combining the creation of art with wine. While there are a few of these throughout the South Bay, there is only one in Santa Clara.
Located inside the Central Computers building at 3777 Stevens Creek Blvd., VinoArtisthas been open since late 2013, allowing adults create paintings while sipping on glasses of red or white wine. Owner Julia Barsov–Smirnov opened the studio because, as a painter and former engineer, she wanted a place where adults couldreconnect with friends while doing something relaxing and entertaining.
“We’re the only [painting and wine studio] in Santa Clara,” said Barsov–Smirnov,”which is amazing and I think this is the first business in the area that has a studio … We can host larger classes. We have a studio downstairs for special events and can accommodate to 100 people. We also serve complementary wine and popcorn. The vibe is different. I didn’t want people to go to a bar. I wanted people to come in, spend time with loved ones, relax and be able to talk to each other without waitresses running around.”
Each class lasts approximately three hours and is taught by an instructor with an art degree. Paintings are chosen by the instructors and are often themed for each season. Additionally, VinoArtist hosts special events where students can challenge themselves by creating their own version of a Vincent Van Gogh piece or something inspired by Claude Monet. Classes are held in the evenings and on the weekends, and no art training or experience is required.
“The paintings are designed for everybody to be able to walk out with a complete painting that they’re going to be proud of, and they can put it on their wall and show it off to their friends,” said Barsov–Smirnov.”We do it step–by–step. There’s always an instructor to lead them through. You’re welcome to do your own stuff but you’re not on your own. We’re helping you every step of the way.”
Los Gatos resident Jeannine Jacobsen attended a class with co–workers, using VinoArtist as a team–building exercise. “I think it’s awesome,” she said.”I really do. We were talking about it before we started. We’re a group of perfectionists and we’re very analytical so the fun thing about this is that it’s not about perfection – it’s about everybody’s perspective.”
“Letting go of the perfection is kind of difficult to do,” said Willow Glen resident Franca Cozzitoto. “Once you get ok with it, you realize it’s fine and it’ll be beautiful no matter what. I think the unique thing about it is never having painted and having no drawing background whatsoever, the way that the instructor breaks it down into different pieces is digestible.”
Classregistration is available online at www.vinoartist.com. Regular classes are $65 per person (all supplies and gourmet popcorn are included), but a $32 price can be locked in by signing up early. Special events, which include snacks and supplies, are $45. Two complementary glasses of wine are served at each event.