WEST MILTON — The owners of the recently opened Miami Street Imaginarium are aiming to do something bigger than just teaching art — they’re hoping to build community and bring people together through art and music.
Offering lessons in just about every creative outlet imaginable, the community arts and music center will also offer a huge variety of entertainment and community outreach options.
“It’s hard to say that we’re any one thing,” co-owner Misty Brown confessed. “We have so much programming going on that there will be something for everybody to be a part of.”
The center celebrated its grand opening last week in West Milton, where it now occupies an old downtown space on South Miami Street.
Co-owners Misty Brown and Niccole Yang both share a passion for community outreach and the arts and a background working with children.
Brown, the mother of two teenage boys in the Milton-Union school district, saw a real need for creative outlets for kids in the community. She wanted something that would keep kids too busy to get into trouble, while fostering their imaginations.
“I just felt that there’s a need,” she said. “It’s a place that can help them develop their gifts and their talents. And also a place where they can be recognized.”
Both Yang and Brown will teach classes, with Yang focusing more on health and wellness options like meditation. Brown will use her skills as an artist and her background in youth programming to focus more on the artistic side of things.
The center has other instructors, including five teachers offering music lessons in a variety of instruments. The Imaginarium is still looking for more people who are interested in teaching classes in just about anything, Brown said.
The class catalog has something for folks of all ages — from toddlers to senior citizens — and all abilities, with classes for those with special needs.
In addition to painting and mixed-media art, the center will also offer a class for those who have always wanted to tackle those crafts they’ve seen on Pinterest, but didn’t want to try without help.
The center is also planning paint parties, both the paint-and-sip wine parties popular with grown-ups and a kid-friendly version for the whole family.
There are options for those more inclined toward the written word as well, with writer’s groups and poetry nights planned. One teen group, the Miami Valley Voices of the Generation, is even creating their own website written entirely by teens for teens.
On the health and wellness side, there are classes in yoga, meditation, and essential oils.
The Miami Street Imaginarium aims to keep all events and services reasonably priced. Lessons vary in price, but events range from $25 for adult paint nights to $5 for events like trivia nights.
“We’re trying to create something on every Friday and Saturday night for families and kids to do,” Brown said.
There are already several movie nights, musician jams, and karaoke and trivia events planned.
The center will also function as an art gallery, with rotating exhibits, as well as a retail space with locally made artwork, jewelry and other handmade gifts.
For those looking to get more involved in their community, the center has created volunteer and mentoring programs. Partnering with local churches and the schools, the Imaginarium is looking for people of all ages who want to give back with their time and abilities, Brown said.
“Once a month, we’re going to have a group that meets that’s going to be interested in volunteering and outreach,” she said. “We’ll help identify their gifts and place them where their strengths are and where they can best serve.”
Whether it’s volunteering at a food pantry or helping local individuals, there will be plenty of opportunities to give back, she added.
There will also be monthly training sessions geared toward encouraging leadership and mentoring skills.
Reach Cecilia Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org.