Toledo Talk

Uncork the Artist tomorrow night!

Anybody want to get together with 5 fun people and paint this picture tomorrow night at Uncork The Artist? I want to do this so bad but we only have 5 people and need 10 or they cancel the class. Please go here and read up and register, it's for noobies and it's fun!!! You can bring alcohol! lol

created by nana on Feb 10, 2014 at 12:47:18 pm     Comments: 37

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Wish I could... Busy week however.
I recommend this to anyone. Its a good time!
Artistic talent not required. ;-)

posted by SJD on Feb 10, 2014 at 01:07:03 pm     #   2 people liked this

Aw, bummer! I would do this in a heartbeat, but I'm working late tomorrow night. My future daughter-in-law wants to do this as part of her bachelorette party and I think she's concerned about numbers as well.

I hope you find enough participants! If not, wanna come to a bachelorette party in a couple months? ;)

posted by valbee on Feb 10, 2014 at 01:33:34 pm     #  

haha, lemme know the date and I'll see! :)

posted by nana on Feb 10, 2014 at 02:17:56 pm     #  

I am going on Thursday already - I am excited to do this!

posted by ajm00733 on Feb 10, 2014 at 06:23:10 pm     #  

This looks like so much fun, but I have to work late tomorrow. I'm adding this to my 'things to do' list!

posted by Brewster on Feb 10, 2014 at 08:14:07 pm     #  

I found out that it's way better to have your 10 or more people confirmed and then sign up all at once, so when you are ready to do it, post here with enough notice and we'll get a TT Night Out going! :)

posted by nana on Feb 10, 2014 at 10:10:41 pm     #   1 person liked this

In other news, they haven't called and cancelled yet, so hopefully we're still on! :)

posted by nana on Feb 10, 2014 at 10:16:14 pm     #  

Well, that was a lot of fun!!! Valbee, I wouldn't worry about your party having enough people, we got there at 6:05 and they were already packed. There were about 30 people in class tonite, that's almost maxxed out per the artist. I would say give them a call a few days before and find out how many OTHER people they have registered for that date, just to calm your fears of being cancelled. I told My Girls about your upcoming party and we are good to go, seriously. We loved it!

posted by nana on Feb 12, 2014 at 12:34:43 am     #  

I'm glad to hear the business is doing well. I saw the place when they opened, and I wondered if they'd make it or not. Seems they're getting right along.

posted by madjack on Feb 12, 2014 at 04:18:48 pm     #   1 person liked this

Got this from them on FB:

LOVING our customers on Valentines Day. Use coupon code LOVE10 for $10 off ANY class now through April 1st. Thanks for loving art as much as we do! SHARE the love with someone as well.

posted by nana on Feb 14, 2014 at 10:56:51 pm     #  

They have couples nights where you each paint 1 of a 2-panel set. :)

posted by nana on Feb 14, 2014 at 10:58:35 pm     #  

I've gathered the women where I work for a night out at this place. I haven't heard anyone have a harsh word for it, so I have high hopes for fun evening in March!

posted by gamegrrl on Feb 26, 2014 at 05:02:13 pm     #  

hey, what night are you going? we signed up last week for March 29 and it's sold out already! :)

posted by nana on Feb 27, 2014 at 09:30:14 am     #  

March 24th! It's supposed to be warmer by then. LOL!

posted by gamegrrl on Feb 27, 2014 at 11:05:18 am     #  

shucks, hopin we would get to meet over aprons and wine. next time! :)

Hopefully warmer, unless the 6-10 inches The Lion is bringing in this weekend decides to stick around all month!!! :)

posted by nana on Feb 27, 2014 at 11:13:42 am     #   1 person liked this

Well, last night was the big event. We were not impressed. Overcrowded chaos and several other issues. All five of us were extremely disappointed, and have drafted a letter to send the shop that politely points out the issues and offers suggestions.

What a bummer.

posted by gamegrrl on Mar 25, 2014 at 11:53:39 pm     #  

I did this too a few months back. I had a great time being with my family for the event, but it was way overcrowded - couldn't even move about comfortably.

posted by ajm00733 on Mar 26, 2014 at 06:07:56 am     #  

We didn't have room for our brush cleaning (water) cups, our paint plate or our paper towels. We were crammed in so tightly that it was a challenge to physically do the painting, as we were literally elbow-to-elbow.

posted by gamegrrl on Mar 26, 2014 at 08:57:29 am     #  

was it apparent to the owner that things were going bad?

posted by upso on Mar 26, 2014 at 10:41:11 am     #  

You know, I couldn't tell. From outward appearances, it all seemed 'business as usual'.

We are hoping that we get some sort of response to our letter. If we were to get no response, that would truly be a shame.

posted by gamegrrl on Mar 26, 2014 at 11:12:32 am     #  

Yeah, they really need a bigger room, it is pretty crazy trying to move around. I didn't have a problem coz i didn't know what to expect. They seem to be getting more popular, so maybe. After my first time, I pointed out a couple of improvements to their website that would make it more user friendly for newbies and got a note right back saying they would work on it. We're goin again Sat night, hope it's not worse than the last time.

posted by nana on Mar 26, 2014 at 12:03:15 pm     #  

I wonder how many people they are allowed to have in there, given the table configuration and such. If everyone had to exit in a hurry, there would definitely be issues.

posted by gamegrrl on Mar 26, 2014 at 12:07:18 pm     #  

Here is the main portion of the letter:

We were looking forward to a relaxing evening with drinks and snacks and a chance to interact with an artist and each other in a calm and comfortable atmosphere. Unfortunately what we got was overcrowded, disorganized and poorly facilitated. It was a very disappointing experience for all of us.

In an effort to provide you with feedback, we would like to share with you the things we feel were problems, and offer solutions to help you improve your process.

There was no one at the front of the store to greet people as they came in. That meant no one to handle check-in or tell people where to put their coats, food and beverages. I’m sure that works fine for regular customers, but it’s frustrating and alienating to newcomers. Perhaps you could enlist the assistance of a regular to act as greeter. That would reduce the pre-session chaos a bit and help newcomers feel more welcome.

There were so many people in the class that it was ridiculously crowded. Not only did that mean not enough elbow room to actually enjoy the painting process, but there wasn’t enough room on the table for our brush cleaning cups, paper towels and paint plate. It goes without saying that there also wasn’t room for a glass to drink from or a place for food. The only possible improvement for this situation would be either fewer students per session, or a larger space.

Some of us put our food, wine and coffee at the front table. As crowded as the classroom was, it was out of the question to make our way up to that front table during the class. All the food and drink we had up there was taken home untouched. For those of us who tried taking our food and drink back where we were sitting, the only place available to put it was on the floor or on a cardboard box. This situation could have been made much better by eliminating the couple of seats back in the far corner and putting a card table there instead to hold food and beverage items.

The instruction lacked confidence and structure: Several times, the instructor would have us do something, then once we’d done it she would say, “Oh. I shouldn’t have had you do that.” or “I think I forgot to have you do something.” or “Well, I had you do that wrong, but it doesn’t matter.” She seemed tentative and ill-prepared. The fact that we were to her left and behind her made it even worse: We couldn’t see what she was doing until she was done with that step and we were able to get her attention and ask her to show us. Friends who have attended this sort of class in other cities tell us that their instructor works on a raised platform, which makes it easier for everyone to see what they’re doing.

Of course, it didn’t help that we all had to keep moving to allow people access to the back of the studio. That caused us to miss several parts of the instruction. Again, this wouldn’t have been a problem if the class hadn’t been so overcrowded.

With every seat bringing ~$35 to the till, it’s understandable that you would be eager to cram as many people into each session as possible, but you have to recognize your saturation point. Beyond that point, every additional person brings with them issues related to the overall experience for everyone that will, ultimately, deflate your bottom line, not increase it.

As we mentioned, we know several people who have attended events such as this at other studios in other cities/states and, for the most part, they have had a totally different experience. It was based upon their experiences that we, a group of professionals looking for a fun, relaxing event, decided to give Uncork the Artist a try. Unfortunately, we all feel that it was not a good experience, nor was it a good value for our money.

posted by gamegrrl on Mar 26, 2014 at 12:18:26 pm     #  

I'm sorry to hear you had a poor experience. I've seen the area several times and even stopped in to see what was up, so I'm a little curious. How many people were in the class?

posted by madjack on Mar 26, 2014 at 12:51:56 pm     #  

I'm not sure how many people were in the class. They had people tucked in every nook and cranny, including two seats in the back corner, behind the back row. It had to be between 28 and 35.

posted by gamegrrl on Mar 26, 2014 at 01:04:11 pm     #  

It seems incredibly tactless to publish your letter to a public website when the whole point of a letter is to convey information in a confidential manner. I can't imagine everyone in the class had the same experience as your group, especially since you took the time to describe your experience so subjectively. Heck, some people may have even had a great time.

Maybe the situation was less than ideal, but I think you should have tried to address these issues a little more discreetly before resorting to public shaming.

posted by brainswell on Mar 26, 2014 at 03:11:51 pm     #  

I disagree, brainswell. My future daughter-in-law is considering starting off her bachelorette party at this establishment. I appreciate gamegrrl letting us know exactly how she perceived things, if for no other reason than to give an idea what questions we should be asking prior to booking the party. I don't think it's unreasonable to ask for slightly more individualized attention, considering the cost. Heck, I took a FREE glass icicle making class at UT with less than 10 students. I know there's a big difference between hot glass and paint, but still...30 people seems excessive.

posted by valbee on Mar 26, 2014 at 03:34:50 pm     #  

Maybe the situation was less than ideal, but I think you should have tried to address these issues a little more discreetly before resorting to public shaming.

The situation as described goes well beyond 'less than ideal'. The space is small and the shape is long and narrow, which is not ideal for any sort of class. Unless the space is arranged correctly and optimized for the activity, this can be a real disaster. In this case the room was not arranged correctly and was overcrowded.

Then there was the problem with the instructor, who is likely a first year art student with limited experience and a disorganized approach. The expertise of the instructor makes all the difference in the world, so even if the space were overcrowded the customers would still enjoy themselves due to the efforts of the instructor. Evidently that didn't happen here.

The proprietor could restrict the number of students in a class, which I wouldn't have a problem with. An instructor with a lot of experience could be hired, which would help.

Now that we know about these things, anyone else who wants to try this out will know what to ask about.

posted by madjack on Mar 26, 2014 at 04:47:31 pm     #  

The thing is, this is not a serious art class. They aren't out to 'train' you, they are only out to give you a different experience for 3 hours, so it IS a little rushed and hectic.

There were about 30 people in the class I was in and, afterward, the instructor said their max was 35. We realized early on that there was not going to be any room for our food and drink, so we left it on the front table and took it home, it was just cheese and crackers. This week, we're going out before the class and maybe after. We noticed no-one else brought any food, so they already knew the situ. You are right that it's overwhleming for a newbie and their website does not help prepare you at all. Honestly, I don't see how anyone would have had time to eat anything and the drinking was really kept to a minimum. I did have room behind my easel to stash my cup of wine but then I forgot about it, I was so busy painting.

My DIL is an artist up in MI and she was asked by a friend who has a restaurant to teach one of these nights, and I see that UTA does these restaurant nights for fund raisers, but according my daughter who has done a restaurant night, it's way worse. The food and drinks had to be ordered and the staff was way too slow to provide them.

I'm just saying, maybe pre-concieved notions led to the let-down. I had no idea what to expect, so I didn't expect anything, and just went with the flow, and everyone I was with had a good time. We laughed and joked with each other and just lived in the moment. It was so fun to see how different everybody painted the same picture! I love the one we're doing this week, looking forward to going again! (not a paid advertisement, lol)

posted by nana on Mar 26, 2014 at 06:10:34 pm     #  

I hope no one sees this as anything more than what it is: The distilled perceptions of five women related to class situations that made the experience unpleasant for us. I feel we voiced our concerns clearly and sans drama. This is no different from a review that might be posted on Yelp or some other such site.

None of us really had any preconceived notions regarding what we thought it would be like. I know I sure didn't expect an "art class". Trust me. But after being encouraged to bring edibles and drinkables, I did expect to be able to access/enjoy them. We all went out of our way to plan and purchase things to bring, so yeah. It was a letdown.

I also expected to have enough space around my seat and table that I could participate in the event without having my elbows pulled in to the sides of my body constantly due to lack of space. Not only was that not conducive to painting, it was uncomfortable and claustrophobia-inducing.

I also expected to be able to see and hear what I was supposed to be doing as I followed along with the group leader. Also a no-go.

There has been no rudeness, no name-calling, no telling people they shouldn't go, no drama. Heck, we didn't even ask for our money back. We figure you pays yer money, you takes yer chances. For some folks, I'm sure that none of these things would matter at all. To us, they mattered. And it would have been nice to have all the facts before making our plans.

I've taught art classes and acted as facilitator for educational groups around the world over the past couple of decades. Even when I knew I could make a helluva lot more money by allowing my venues to pack 'em in, it was more important to me that the people participating have a fun and informative time. I always based my class number limits on a variety of things, including the size of the studio, the number of dedicated studio assistants I would have, the skill level of the group, the techniques being taught... Well, let's just say many, many things. If the demand for seats was great enough, we added another day/weekend/week, as needed. And that happened a lot.

And at this point I just want to reiterate that I just because I have a background in the arts and teaching in the arts doesn't mean I was expecting an art class of any kind. I knew what the process was and had talked to several people who had been to "drink 'n' paint" events in other parts of the country. My beef is that it was overcrowded, chaotic and the group leader didn't seem to be well-prepared. That's all.

I wish them great success, and am happy to see how well they are doing. Offering suggestions to them in a civilized manner doesn't seem out of line. If someone else had do so before our evening there, they would probably have five more repeat customers. Provided they took the suggestions to heart and acted on them, of course.

posted by gamegrrl on Mar 26, 2014 at 06:58:31 pm     #  

Valbee: For a bachelorette party, I would book it as a private party, which is an available option. I would imagine if you do that, you can pretty much call the shots as far as timing, pace and, of course, who you want to have there.

posted by gamegrrl on Mar 26, 2014 at 07:03:35 pm     #  

I think that's what we're planning to do, gamegrrl. However, there was some conflicting information about the minimum number of people required and concern that we wouldn't be able to meet that minimum. I'm hopeful it will all work out.

posted by valbee on Mar 26, 2014 at 08:38:33 pm     #  

Me, too :-D

posted by gamegrrl on Mar 26, 2014 at 08:48:29 pm     #  

Its interesting that you're an artist, gamegrrl, I had wondered what an artists take would be on the set-up, it puts your review into a whole new light. I don't get to see my DIL in MI very much, maybe I'll ask her to come along next time and get her take on it. I would love to see how she paints, I've never seen it. :)

posted by nana on Mar 26, 2014 at 11:33:48 pm     #  

I'm a glass artist. I have the painting skill of a rock. LOL!

posted by gamegrrl on Mar 27, 2014 at 12:31:33 am     #  

Almost daughter-in-law's bachelorette party was yesterday, so I thought I'd update this post with our Uncork the Artist experience.

We started the party there. Our class was at 2:30 p.m. on a gorgeous sunny day and we had a total of 11 people in the class. Most of it consisted of our party, but there was one other person who had a gift card and opted to go that day.

We had a blast. I can definitely see where gamegrrl's concerns would come into play with space and positioning. I was the first one there and since I'm tall, I took a seat in the back center, so I had a great view. The rest of our guests filled up the back row and then there were a few people directly in front of us.

I thought our instructor was awesome. We did the table wine painting and several in the group went with a totally different color scheme (I didn't--too chicken this time around). The results were truly fantastic. Everyone was so pleased. Our instructor mentioned that with larger classes, some instructors prefer that you not deviate from the palette, so another bonus for a smaller class--although she sounded like she'd have been fine with it regardless.

My tips for someone trying it would include:

1. Get there early to get your choice of seats
2. Keep your snacks at your seat (another advantage to being in the back row)
3. If possible, have someone in your party close to the table where the beverages are, so they're easily accessible and can be passed down the line
4. Go on a Saturday afternoon when it's less likely to be packed.

Things I'd change if I could:

1. Higher easels for standing--it felt like sitting was too low and standing was too tall
2. Instructor on a platform--it wasn't an issue in our small class, but having her elevated a bit would definitely make things easier all around.

Overall, it was an enjoyable time and I'm doing it again. One of the girls at this party is having her own bachelorette party there in July and she asked me if I'd like to join them. That one will be on a Thursday night, so it could be a totally different experience.

Also, I noticed on the website that they're opening a location in Perrysburg. It'll be interesting to see what that space is like.

posted by valbee on Jun 01, 2014 at 12:24:54 pm     #   1 person liked this

Glad you had fun! I recently did my 3rd class, acrylic with india ink. The teacher was a newbie artist from BG named Chris and we only paid $20 for it because of that. Class size was limited to 12 but we only had 9, I think, including the owner, Cathie. MUCH nicer than trying to move around with 30-35 in the room BUT he had time to go around to each of us and mess with our paintings, which I did not like and did not let him do. He won't be able to do that with the normal size class and I think Cathie said something to him in that vein afterward. All in all, it was very fun and a very neat pic. Going back July 25th when my sister is here from Florida, I got to pic the painting! :)

posted by nana on Jun 01, 2014 at 10:06:40 pm     #