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Business offers beginning painters a chance to explore creativity

Whether people are naturally creative or have never picked up a paintbrush in their life, Paint and Party offers them a chance to access their inner artist.

Taught by local artists, the business gives people instruction in a class environment and allows participants to paint anything from abstract pieces to landscape portraits.

“We have gotten anyone from military pilots to attorneys and surgeons,” said Matt Dillon, co-owner of Paint and Party, 8826 S. Eastern Ave. “You get guys who come in here who are wired. This is a good stress reliever. Everything goes away while you’re painting.”

The idea was developed by co-owner Donna Friese.

A few years ago, she moved to Texas to take care of her grandchildren. While searching for an activity to do in her spare time, she found a place that allows people to paint.

Friese had a real estate background and never considered herself an artist.

“That was something my friends would do or my neighbors would do,” she said. “It wasn’t me. You had to be born with that talent.”

But on her first try at the store, it turned out she wasn’t as bad as she had thought.

“I actually did a pretty good job,” she said.

More so, the experience was relaxing, which prompted her to return repeatedly.

She knew this business could be replicated and be a huge asset to whichever community it was in.

After reconnecting with Dillon, a longtime friend who lives in Henderson, she invited him to come to Texas to experience the business.

“There was nothing like it in Las Vegas,” he said.

Dillon returned and did some research on opening a similar business.

In May 2011, Paint and Party opened near Henderson.

The owners hired local artists to teach classes.

The business has a schedule of what type of items people can expect to create throughout the month.

“It’s not one of those ‘I draw a line, then you draw a line’ classes,” Friese said.

There are general objects people paint in the class such as a heart or a starfish, but if they want to deviate in color or style along the way, the option is available.

At the end of the experience, people have created their own piece of art.

Paint and Party also is available to go to people’s homes if they want to have a private and more intimate party, Friese said.

Dillon said people like the experience for different reasons.

“No. 1, it’s creative,” he said.

Even teenage boys who cross their arms and stubbornly refuse to do projects, Friese described, slowly are drawn into the creative process.

“We had one guy come in here and didn’t want to do it,” Dillon said. “About 35 minutes later I asked him how he was doing.”

He said the reluctant participant was not only painting but was putting effort into deciding the colors he wanted to use.

Along the way, Friese started teaching, too.

“I never thought I would teach a class,” she said. “But the more I painted, the more people asked if they could do what I was doing.”

Similarly, Dillon had limited artistic experience.

“I’m good with a paint roller,” he said jokingly.

But after owning the business, he has been able to enjoy creating different artworks.

Paint and Party also is open to those who are looking for a creative venue to host events such as birthday parties or team-building workshops for companies.

Dillon added that Paint and Party has attracted businesses such as Zappos to come in.

He said while the business continues to grow at its current location, he and Friese are considering opening a second store in downtown Las Vegas, “so we can help the arts community down there,” he said.

For more information, visit paintand

Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at mlyle@viewnews.com or 702-387-5201.

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