Studio provides place for creativity, artistic experimentation with family members

Wild at Art supplies space for children to bond with parents through spooky art



Julia Branen, 16, captures the attention of many attendees with her beautiful paint work,. She claims that she draws in her free time but rarely plays with paint on Saturday morning, at the Moscow Wild at Art.

RACHEL KOCH, Evergreen reporter

The occasional hairdryer whirred over wet paint as children and parents worked on painting canvases together Saturday afternoon at Wild at Art.

The families were there for the business’s Kids, Cocoa & Canvas event, hosted by co-owners Donald Stanziano and Joan Hofmann.

The event was Halloween-themed for the spooky season.

“We’ve been doing this for years,” Stanziano said. “We always like to do something around Halloween for kids and families because it becomes a family activity.”

Stanziano said he printed an image of a haunted house for participants to recreate by painting it onto a canvas.

He instructed the attendees to paint the background on the canvas first, let the paint dry and lastly, paint the foreground. To speed up the drying process. Stanziano provided hairdryers.

“I’ve got a sequence,” Stanziano said. “I’m not doing a brushstroke-by-brushstroke approach to this.”

Wild at Art also provided snacks, orange juice and hot cocoa for participants while they painted.

One of the participants, Ashli Amos, came with her daughter.

“This is the first event [hosted by Wild at Art] we’ve been to,” Amos said.

However, Amos added that she has visited the studio before.

Julia Branen, Moscow resident, also attended Kids, Cocoa & Canvas.

Branen’s only previous art experience comes from drawing at home and she said she has never taken any studio classes.

“I don’t really do a lot of painting,” she said. “I’m more used to drawing in pencil, so this allows me to try a new medium.”

Nonetheless, her artwork drew in admirers throughout Wild at Art.

Like Amos, Branen has been to Wild at Art but has never attended Kids, Cocoa & Canvas. However, Branen sees herself coming back in future years, she said.

“I like how it has a guide for you if you’re a little lost, but also you can be creative and do your own kind of thing,” Branen said.

Kids, Cocoa & Canvas provides a friendly, welcoming space free from judgment, Stanziano said.

“This is one of the safest environments for them to express their creativity,” he said.

Many of the beginner-level projects available at Wild at Art are forgiving, Stanziano said.

“You could paint a small coaster or trivet and simply put dots on it,” he said. “When it gets glazed and it gets fired, it’s going to be shiny and lovely. People are going to say, ‘Oh, I didn’t know I could do that.’”

Co-owner Hofmann founded Wild at Art in 2005, said her husband, Stanziano.

Stanziano said Hofmann started the business shortly after moving to Moscow from the Bay Area.

“Her three kids, they weren’t all that winter sports-oriented. They were very artsy, and there was no opportunity like this,” he said. “She thought, ‘This would be a nice opportunity, not just for my kids but for other families.’”

What makes Wild at Art enjoyable for people is that it encourages conversation and creative expression, Stanziano said.

“You can paint whatever you want,” he said. “You can paint a dinosaur for all I care.”

Wild at Art is open from noon to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday at 118 E. Third St. in Moscow.