Alibi V.24 No.4 • Jan 22-28, 2015 

Art Scenester

Sip, Paint, Repeat

Have a sip at Old Town Creative Studios.
Have a sip at Old Town Creative Studios.
Blake Driver

With sip-and-paint franchises popping up around the country, and bars and coffee houses doubling as galleries, art openings aren’t the only opportunities to imbibe some culture with your drinks. Whether you’re dowsing for premium New Mexico wine, microbrews or gourmet coffee, Albuquerque is lucky enough to offer several homespun ways to get your art with a bar.

Art with Bars

Masterpieces in the making at Kelly Jo Designs by Wine
Masterpieces in the making at Kelly Jo Designs by Wine
Blake Driver

Kelly Jo Kuchar, owner of Kelly Jo Designs by Wine (6829 Fourth Street NW), throws parties for $35 a ticket. People of all artistic abilities complete an acrylic painting over the course of two or three hours in the ambience of her working ceramics studio. Copying one of more than 60 acrylic images designed by Kuchar and her instructors, many of them with decidedly regional themes like “Bosque Colors in Fall” and “San Miguel Church in the Snow,” partygoers reproduce the painting on their own blank canvases to create a work of art they can take home and proudly hang on their walls. Meanwhile, Kuchar sells glasses of reds and whites from three New Mexico wineries, as well as seven red varietals of her own label. While the vino initially helps lower people’s creative inhibitions, Kuchar says more than two or three glasses tend to send their creations the way of Jackson Pollock.

Sisters Paint and Wine brings out the color.
Sisters Paint and Wine brings out the color.
Blake Driver

Following a similar format, Sisters Paint and Wine (5500 San Mateo NE) offers 90 different classes for $35 and serves Ponderosa Valley Winery vintages. Events held at nearby restaurants like Garduño’s widen the party fare. Owner Lisa Wilkes says plans are underway to produce wine onsite in the near future, which will further distinguish her establishment from large sip-and-paint chains.

Custom painter and faux finisher Jerry Gail lets customers choose between guided and freestyle sip-and-paint classes for $50 at Old Town Creative Studios (323 Romero NW), while offsite parties at Hotel Albuquerque cater to customers desirous of more than her studio’s gourmet iced coffee bar.

Finally, artists Terry and Steve DeWitt of ABQ Canvas and Coffee (6700 Fourth Street NW) host adult and children’s painting classes, ranging in price from $20 to $35, which include a complimentary coffee or tea, and dessert sourced from local bakers.

Bars with Art

Art Fusion for a Cause at Tractor Brewing feels good in so many ways.
Art Fusion for a Cause at Tractor Brewing feels good in so many ways.
Blake Driver

If you miss ArtBar, which closed down last July in response to a liquor license issue, Tractor Brewing continues to fill the void with events like Art Fusion for a Cause on select Wednesdays at its Wells Park Tap Room (1800 Fourth Street NW). The event lets lovers of locally crafted brews watch Albuquerque’s best tattoo artists collaborate on charcoal art, which is raffled off for $5 a ticket to benefit Paws and Stripes, a local organization pairing veterans and canines.

A little caffeine buzz courtesy of Winning gets that stuff done on a Sunday Crafternoon.
A little caffeine buzz courtesy of Winning gets that stuff done on a Sunday Crafternoon.
Kendra Tuthill

On Sundays from 2-5pm, creative types gather at Winning Coffee Co. (111 Harvard SE) to work on their craft projects in a café already famed for its rotating art and photography displays. Sunday Crafternoon organizer Amanda Dean says the majority of participants has so far consisted of knitters, but no project is too avant-garde for this crowd.

If sipping and painting takes too much coordination, a bevy of drink holes around town that feature artists on their walls make primo destinations to sip and see, including O’Niell’s Pub, Zendo, Java Joe’s, Gold Street Caffé, Flying Star Cafe, Range Cafe, Farina and Farina Alto Pizzeria and Wine Bar, and Artichoke Cafe.