Adopting an art attitude: Lake businesses merge art with reunions, weddings and more

Taylor Lantz (L) and two friends enjoy a paintiing party at  Great Stone Coffee in late February

Art is powerful therapy. It has the power to relax, incite joy, and allay fears, especially when we make our own art. That’s what dozens are doing at businesses around the Lake where making art merges with celebrations for wedding parties, birthdays, reunions, and corporate events.

For the past six years, Monty and Kim Murphy have owned Paint the Town, a mobile art studio providing paint parties around the Lake and across Missouri. The Murphys work with local wineries and coffee shops to bring customers through the door at those businesses. Tables provide a surface for art as well as glasses of wine, bottles of beer, cups of coffee, and food for those hungry. The Murphys also have experience hosting painting parties in homes and barns, on decks and docks, in backyards and vineyards.

At Lake of the Ozarks, Paint the Town can be found at least three times monthly at Shawnee Bluff Winery and Great Stone Coffee, both in Osage Beach; The Funky Buffalo Brewhouse and Trading Company in Camdenton; and Seven Springs Winery in Linn Creek. 

In late February at Great Stone, Paint the Town’s focus was art created by mixing and pouring paint on canvas to create an abstract design. The talented Monty Murphy quickly and clearly demonstrated what to do, then he and Kim hovered to answer questions, turn up the volume on a great playlist, reassure, and encourage. When one guest asked Monty what he was trying to create during the demonstration, he answered truthfully, “I have no idea.” Pouring paint onto canvas and letting the colors move each other, mix, and spread is the ultimate creative act. The art reveals itself after the artist chooses colors, stirs, and pours.

No one was disappointed. Everyone was proud of her work. Oh, and those two guys in the group were proud, too. Elizabeth Miller from Versailles is a six-time repeat guest. She loves the Murphys, she said. The events are both “fun” and “relaxing.” Her dad, Ernie Miller, with just four Paint the Town works on his résumé, echoed his daughter’s reasons for being present and added that making art is a great way to spend time together. He even adds notes on the back of the canvases to remember the time spent with her, and he hangs them on the walls of his home.

Taylor Lantz, another pour-painter at Great Stone in late February, said she enjoyed the method because she had little “control over” the final result. She noted that making art by pouring paint would be terrific therapy for “Type A” personalities. Indeed, the delight is in discovering what color and paint on canvas will do.

Generations Art Studio has a similar business model. Owner and artist, Irene Holt, will bring pour art parties to a customer’s location, and she will customize the subject for acrylic paintings according to the occasion.

The Lake’s other paint party entrepreneurs have studio space for parties. These include Bill’s Art Center and Gallery and Studio 27, both in Camdenton; Artful Elements (Lake Studio for the Arts) in Laurie; Studio Margo Create and Paint in Stover; and Lake Fine Art Academy and Galleria in Osage Beach. These businesses will provide the art supplies and instruction. Food and/or beverages can be brought in by participants, but they should check with the host to discuss what can be on the menu. For example, Lake Fine Art Academy and Galleria does not allow alcoholic beverages due to the number of children studying at the studio.

Paint parties thrive at the Lake, and why wouldn’t they? Cave-wall etchings from ancient days and modern-day electronic sketching prove the power of art. So do the delighted smiles and words of praise when a guest takes home a work of his own.

Where to Paint Around the Lake

Artful Elements (also known as Lake Studio for the Arts), 804 N. Main, Laurie. Lake Studio for the Arts on Facebook. 

Artist and owner Julia Barton creates custom art in resin, clay, metal, and paint. She offers individualized instruction as well as group classes and workshops. Barton’s paint parties include a 16 x 20 canvas project. 

Call 573-789-3886 to book a party at a cost of $35 and up per person.

Bill’s Art Center and Gallery, 94 N. Business 5, Camdenton.

Bill Wood, owner and artist, frames art and teaches in oil or acrylic on Saturdays from 1-3 p.m. His business is also exhibit space for area artists. Paint parties for bridal parties, birthdays, reunions, and just for fun can be scheduled to take place at the gallery. Call 573-317-1010 to book a party at a cost of $35 and up per person.

Generations Art Studio, Lake Ozark. Generations Art Studio on Facebook. 

Artist Irene Holt brings the acrylic or pour-painting party to a customer’s location. Holt also accepts commissioned work. 

Call 660-227-0353 to book a party at a cost of $25 and up per person.

Paint the Town, Lake of the Ozarks, on Facebook, and

Artist Monty Murphy and Chief Fun Officer Kim Murphy began to take their art studio and paint parties on the road six years ago. They now travel at least three times weekly and have at least three Lake bookings every month. Their website shows what the artwork for each event will be and where those interested can participate. By attending one workshop and following up to schedule a second, customers can receive a discount to paint on glass, wood, or canvas. Reserving a spot is easily done online. The average per person cost is $35.

Paint the Town works with area businesses and encourages customers to add to their night-out by buying beverages and/or food from the business. However, Paint the Town will also entertain and educate at a customer’s location where, like other paint-party businesses, participants provide their own food and beverage.

Lake Fine Art Academy and Galleria, 5513 Osage Beach Parkway, Osage Beach. Lake Fine Art Academy & Galleria on Facebook and

Dr. Paula Brown provides exhibit space for 64 original artists. She also teaches more than 50 students. She takes art mentoring “on the road” to colleges where she is on staff and to the Lake’s hospital where she fosters artistic expression for stroke victims. In addition, corporations and conferences can contact Dr. Brown to personalize workshops and parties at her place of business. For these, Dr. Brown personalizes the paintings according to the season or themes relevant to that group. 

Call 573-693-1750 to book a party at a cost of $35 and up per person.

Studio 27, Camdenton. Studio27 on Facebook. 

Owner Janet Baker hosts parties at 27 Caulfield Avenue where crafty kids and adults can paint, design wreaths, and make fabric pumpkins. Crafters will enjoy painting with frosting at a monthly cookie decorating workshop with the help of The Sweet Spot Cookie Company. Adults can also practice the art of charcuterie boards. 

Call 573-216-2358 to schedule. Prices per person vary according to the project.

Studio Margo Create and Paint, Stover. Studio Margo Create & Paint on Facebook. 

Owner, artist, and crafter Andrea Haynes is reopening her studio at 307 W. 4th Street in May. By appointment only for art classes, seasonal craft projects, and paint parties. Studio Margo strives to be kid-friendly for children ages 5 and up, but adults are welcome, too. 

Call 573-789-5199 to schedule. Prices per person vary according to the project.  

• Call to verify studios have opened back up. Some classes may be postponed.