MAPLEWOOD, NJ - An art class with a decidedly adult theme is being held in Maplewood.

Springfield Avenue art space Express Yourself Studios is holding “Cocktails & Canvas” nights, clearly geared toward an older crowd.

With the tagline “Bring your bottle of wine (or favorite beverage),” “Cocktails & Canvas” is an art class that caters to the 21-years-old and up crowd, offering a relaxed, adult style without the long term commitment most classes require.

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Simone Anthony-Brown, studio owner and current class instructor, began this program two years and seven months ago when she first opened up Express Yourself Studios. She started the program as a “moms’ night out” themed class, being a mother of four herself.

 It soon evolved into “a place for all adults, despite gender, to relax and get creative,” said Anthony-Brown.

Upon entering the studio, the first things a person will notice are the bright green painted walls. They give the studio a fun feel and, when paired with the easy going, smooth background music, the artsy mood is set very nicely. A large rectangular wooden table sits in the middle of the room, flanked to its left by a small refreshments table and a few canvases at its head.

The large table seats the class participants who watch Anthony-Brown instruct them from the front of the room with the canvases. Each class has a theme, such as landscapes, and at the start there is one main painting that each participant is supposed to focus on. The class doesn’t adhere to any set of strict rules though, as each participant is encouraged to be creative on their own.

Anthony-Brown’s role as instructor isn’t one that provides any real hands on help unless she’s asked or if someone is having trouble getting the correct color combination. She only guides those in the class on basic image placement and on what colors to use and where.

“We may start out with the same image to look at but by the end of the night it might all be different,” said Anthony-Brown.

“Cocktails & Canvas” night is a great way for mothers, friends, a couple, or anyone to explore their creative side in an adult setting. First time attendee Lori Parra said, “I like art, but it can be messy at home so this provides a nice area to be creative and get out of the house.”

The class is also available for private events like birthdays or bachelorette parties. Anthony-Brown mentioned that one of her favorite times teaching this class was over this past summer when a group of girls came to celebrate one of their friends getting married.

“Cocktails & Canvas” is held every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month from 7 – 9pm. Details and information about sign ups can be found at www.expressyourselfstudios.com