For seven years, Laura Hilger took classes at the former Impressions in Art studio along Route 19 in Wexford.
Now, she’s offering her own classes to students in the very same building.
“This is what I love doing, teaching art classes,” she said.
The studio will offer art classes, birthday parties, open studios and even BYOB nights for tots, teens, and adults. Art materials, including paint, will be provided to the students during events.
“It’s kind of like having your own space, but without having to make a mess in your home,” Hilger said.
The studio will hold a grand opening celebration from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31 with food, drinks and, of course, art.
In the meantime, Hilger will hold “Doodle the Day Away,” the studio’s first family workshop, from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17.
There also will be a teen workshop, Tuesday, Aug. 20, an elementary workshop, Thursday, Aug. 22, a toddler workshop from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23 and a “young professionals” workshop from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23.
A graduate of Allegheny College with a degree in studio art, Hilger received her masters in early childhood education from Duquesne University. For the last three years, she also has taught art classes at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.
After graduation, the 24-year-old said she searched high and low across the country in the hopes of finding a full-time job teaching art, but none were to be found.
Then in March her apartment caught fire and she was forced to live in a Marriott hotel while repairs were made to her building.
Hilger said the support of her family through that difficult time made her realize she wanted to stay in the Pittsburgh area and be near her loved ones.
“Since I’m from Wexford and Pine-Richland, I really wanted to be back in the North Hills,” she said. “I want to raise my kids in the North Hills. I just love it.”
Hilger said her parents, Jeffrey and Wendy Hilger, helped her invest in the studio, which she calls a dream come true.
“I wanted to be my own boss and be able to make my own decisions and be as creative as I want to be,” she said opening her own business.
In the last few months, the family has been tearing out rugs, painting, ordering supplies and doing other construction work to turn the space into an art studio.“I’m willing to work hard,” Hilger said. “I have a good feeling about it.”
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