The following article appeared in Maine Insights.

For many the thought of recreating Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” could be daunting. Vanessa Leigh says it’s entirely achievable. She is co-founder of Muse Paintbar, soon to open in downtown Portland. Part art instruction studio, part wine bar, MUSE, is Maine’s first paint & wine bar, and it will be located on 245 Commercial Street in Portland.

“Muse allows local artists to share our passion by offering people of varying artistic talent and experience the opportunity to create a piece of art in a fun, relaxed atmosphere,” said Leigh. “Art can be intimidating. We break down those barriers by providing simple, step-by-step directions that allow participants to get comfortable and gain confidence in the process. By the end of the session, they have had a great time and produced a beautiful piece of art they can be proud of,” said Muse co-founded Vanessa Leigh.

Muse Paintbar will enable people of all artistic abilities to reproduce some of the world’s most well-known art while enjoying wine, beer, and food in a relaxed atmosphere. Without any prior experience, participants follow the artist’s instructions on how to create their very own masterpieces. They will recreate works of art like Hokusai’s Great Wave, seasonal images like Snowy Evergreens and a Saint Patrick’s Day clover, or Maine inspired scenes like Mt. Katahdin.

Visitors choose which painting they want to create from a calendar of events on, register online, and come to the spacious studio up to 30 minutes beforehand to unwind and socialize before the session begins.

The price ranges from $29-$39 for classes. The schedule typically runs Wednesday through Sunday at the 245 Commercial Street. The studio will accommodate up to 50 for regular sessions. It will also be available for children’s functions and private events such as corporate team building, bachelorette parties, birthday parties and “girls nights out”–even marriage proposals.

“With Portland’s vibrant art scene and very successful First Friday Night Art Walks we felt this was a perfect place to introduce Muse Paintbar in Maine,” said Leigh. “We are also committed to being a part of the community and plan to donate 5 percent of our profits to local causes and host several fundraisers each month.”

For a fundraising event, 40 percent of all ticket sales are donated to the non-profit chosen by the party organizer.

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