‘Artful Dodger’ studio offers art for all ages

‘Artful Dodger’ studio offers art for all ages

Diane Mayers, left, and Paula Rezendes, both of Woonsocket, are the owners of Artful Dodger ceramics and art studio at 63 Main St. in Blackstone. The studio opens its doors this Saturday, July 13. (Breeze photo by Lauren Clem)

BLACKSTONE – As temperatures soar and school vacation gets into full swing, parents might be glad to know there’s a new local activity that doesn’t involve packing the family into the car and driving an hour to the beach.

Artful Dodger, a new ceramics and art studio on Main Street in Blackstone, will open its doors for the first time this Saturday, July 13. Paula Rezendes and Diane Mayers, the two owners behind the venture, said they hope to offer a family-friendly atmosphere where budding artists of all ages can take classes and paint their own ceramic figures.

“We want it to be family oriented. Getting back to sitting down and doing things with the family,” said Mayers.

Mayers, a retired Woonsocket High School art teacher, was less than a year into her retirement when Rezendes, who works as a project manager for real estate development for NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, pitched the idea to her in April. The two women, both from Woonsocket, have known each other for more than 20 years from singing together in the chorale at Saint Anthony Church on Greene Street. The idea, they said, was driven by nostalgia for the ceramics projects they used to do as children.

“We just happened to be talking one day and I said, remember when we used to do ceramics with our moms? Whatever happened to ceramics?” said Rezendes.

Though the venture might have been driven by nostalgia, the ceramic pieces here are not your grandmother’s pottery. Unlike some studios that require pieces to be fired in a kiln, explained Mayers, Artful Dodger, named for the character from “Oliver Twist,” will offer “grab and go” ceramics that can be painted and taken home the same day. The choices range in price from $8 to $50 and include vintage pieces as well as child-friendly options such as animals and sports figures.

In addition to walk-in ceramics painting, the studio will offer themed acrylic painting nights, children’s birthday parties and oil painting classes for more advanced learners. The two women said they looked at several locations before settling on Main Street and felt very welcome in Blackstone, where they hope to fill a void in the local arts community.

“I don’t think of this as work. I just think it’s going to be a fun and happy environment to be in,” said Rezendes.

Artful Dodger is located at 63 Main St., next to TKO Pizza. The studio will hold a grand opening celebration this Saturday, July 13, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., including raffles and free ceramic pieces for the first 25 children. The hours are Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 12:30 to 9 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m., with Thursday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m. reserved for oil painting classes.