By AMBER WOODARD
When I heard about The Art Mill I was intrigued; I definitely am not artistically talented, so I wondered how well I would do in a painting class. Much to my surprise, not only did I do well, but I also enjoyed myself much more than I ever thought I would!
The concept of The Art Mill is simple: pay $35 plus tax for a 2 to 3 hour painting class where all supplies are included (and you don’t have to clean up a thing!) And, at the end of the night, you will have an original piece of artwork to take home. They also have kids’ classes that cost $20 plus tax for a 12” x 12” canvas. An Art Mill artist leads everyone through the painting, step-bystep, and makes sure that everyone enjoys the experience. How did such a cool place land in Lebanon?
Scott Harris, a Lebanon native, and owner and lead artist of The Art Mill, says that the business came about as a “great accident.”
As a local artist, he has a clientele base in Lebanon and one of those clients asked him to host a painting class as unique entertainment for a dinner party. When someone else heard about the idea, Harris was approached about turning it into a business, and a few weeks later, The Art Mill was born.
“At first people wondered if it would succeed in Lebanon,” says Harris “but curiosity led to folks giving it a try, which led to excitement, which has led to customers returning night after night.” Their main source of attracting business has been word of mouth, and customers seeing their paintings posted on Facebook have played a huge role in The Art Mill’s success. “We tapped a market that we hoped was here, and now we know it’s here,” Harris says.
Harris also says he is thrilled to bring nightlife back to the square, especially something that is outside of the norm.
Working with Harris are Caroline Walker and Jennifer Whitener, who are both teachers. Both Walker and Whitener create paintings that are used in the classes and both are involved in the children’s art camps. “The art camps sold out this summer,” says Walker. “We are planning to do more during the fall and winter, so check out our website (Theartmillatlebanon.com) for more details.”
Harris says they would eventually like to expand to other areas of Middle Tennessee, but before doing so they have to take care of Lebanon.
“We have to be the best before we expand, perfecting and fine tuning skills before going elsewhere,” he says.
So what are The Art Mill’s plans for the future? “To keep providing great artwork to our customers and to always outdo ourselves, month after month,” says Harris. “When we started, we thought we were only in the painting business, but it turns out we are also in the business of creating memories.”
Amber Woodard is Wilson Living Magazine’s newest contributing writer. She is a native of Wilson County and is currently a library assistant at Cumberland University where she is enrolled in two graduate school programs