“Kids are just like drunk adults,” says Jackie Schon, who runs The Paint Bar with her mom, Jill Kerner Schon. This is true in many ways, but she’s talking about the kids who flock to her Newton location for art classes.
The studio, known for its adult painting nights complete with wine, now has kids’ classes and camps. There’s Baby Brushes for toddlers; L’il Brushes for kids up to 5 and Crafternoons for 6- through 11-year-olds. They’ll host vacation camps in February and April, plus summer camps.
The family is from Newton, and Jackie Schon went to Solomon Schecter Day School. The duo also belongs to Temple Emanuel and brings their painting classes there. They’re an artsy crew: grandmother Nancy Schon created the “Make Way for Ducklings” sculpture in the Boston Public Garden.
But it’s not all flowerpots and crisp white wine.
“Sometimes we fight,” says Jackie. “There are challenges. Running a business with your mother has its ups and downs. But someone said this to me the other day: ‘There’s nobody you trust more than your mom.'”
“Unless you have a bad mom,” Jill interjects.
“We’re not mushy-gushy or ‘blessed’ to work together, but we get along,” Jackie says. “We don’t hold a grudge. We’re screaming and laughing the next minute, like any relationship.”
Jill says the business is unique because they launched it together. “Most parent-child businesses start out with the parent founding the business, or a grandparent, then the next generation comes into it. That’s the typical model. Our model is not typical. We started it as equals. I’m a whole generation older, but we really are equals in the business,” she says.
Jackie is the face of the company; Jill handles behind-the-scenes work. They launched in 2010, capitalizing on Jackie’s art school training (she’s a photographer and painter). Jill was eager to take a break from sales and marketing work.
“Everyone did art all the time in my family, growing up. As a kid, if I was bored, my mother would say, ‘Bored people are boring.’ We had to find an activity, usually art,” Jackie says.
And now they’re helping other kids channel that energy, and so far, it’s been successful.
“We’ve worked with hundreds of kids. If they eat the art materials, they’re too young. Otherwise, they do a great job. It’s equally split between girls and boys, and everyone’s favorite color is purple,” Jackie says.
Learn more about their new kids’ classes here.