ALT Creative Studio in Old Town offers customer-driven classes and events

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Boeckman Creek Primary School art teacher Corrie Sammon moonlights at the new ALT Creative Studio in Old Town Wilsonville.  Sammon leads a popular womens wine and paint class.Amanda and Jason Recker have learned to keep moving forward during their time together. Four children and years spent moving around the country at the whim of the military have made that necessary.

Now, that momentum has led them to make one of the biggest moves of their lives. The couple opened ALT Creative Studio in Old Town Wilsonville last fall as a means of providing the community with an artistic outlet that the family itself has not experienced. Now, they’re hoping local children — and their own — have a means of expressing their creativity that previously was lacking.

“We’ve moved around a lot, and in the different places we’ve lived we’ve tried to find art classes for them,” said Amanda Recker, who also is a portrait photographer. “Everywhere we’ve gone that’s been available to us, but I couldn’t find anything that was local and easy to get to here.”

So they decided simply to create their own source of classes, supplies and instruction for their own children as well as the rest of the community.

“I already had a studio space for my photography business, so I was thinking along the lines of an art studio,” said Recker. “I’ve been planning and thinking about it for the last three years, and I already had kind of written up a plan for myself, but I kept it to myself for a long time. I finally worked up the nerve to see what everyone thought and everyone’s been so supportive.”

The new studio offers classes ranging from preschool art to more advanced instruction like college-level color theory. Classes are available as one-time drop-in sessions or as a series of classes lasting a month or longer.

Professional artists are contracted by ALT as instructors in drawing, cartooning, acrylic painting, watercolor and more. The studio is also offering popular wine and paint events, where attendees are treated to food and wine while artists guide them through step-by-step painting instructions. Along with customized birthday parties, the wine and paint nights have already been popular since the studio’s opening.

“The biggest thing is, with children, they’re a little more open-minded with their art,” said Recker. “But with adults, it’s a lot easier to give them a drink and have them relax with friends and let things go. It’s easier to get them to be more creative, and it works really, it actually has been very successful.”

She added that the studio also plans to host art shows and profile local artists. The most recent show, held last month, showcased more than 30 pieces of art by Wilsonville High School students.

The concept of a grand opening is, admittedly, a bit nebulous. That being the case, the “official” grand opening for the studio is scheduled April 19 from 2 to 6 p.m. Art from local students and artists will be featured, creative activities will be offered, drawings will be held for free art classes and there will be an “Art Walk” where winners get a $40 coupon for a class.

“We’re super excited about this,” said Jason Recker. “And it’s just taking off.”

Art is an open-ended concept at ALT Creative Studios. For instance, Kelly Shane Fuller has taught a short course on developing 35mm negative film — using coffee. Amanda Recker herself also teaches children’s art classes, while other instructors include Corrie Sammon, a teacher at Boeckman Creek Primary School, as well as Silverton artist Brian Bloss, Portland artist Steven Mauldin and Wilsonville artist Vickie Field.

The studio also will be hosting fundraisers for local school art programs and has already held one such effort on behalf of the local Music and Arts Partners nonprofit group.

“I really want this to be a hub for anything visual arts related,” Amanda Recker said, adding that classes offered at the studio typically will be created from ideas or concepts presented by artists themselves.

“People come here with ideas of what they like to teach and I’m a facilitator,” she said. “I’m the marketer for them, so as artists they don’t have to take care of the business side at all they just get to do what they love. School projects are done here; I clean up the mess and they don’t have to worry about it.”

“It’s a community center for visual arts,” she said. “It’s to show off our local artists. This is definitely a community service.”

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