Paisley Taylor always finds a way to make art out of life. Her latest labor of love is CREATE Art Bar in downtown Missoula. Walk through its doors and a giant string art mural provides instant inspiration. Designed by Paisley, the work presents unexpected shapes to nudge the brain out of mediocrity and get those creative juices flowing. With strings connected from nail to nail, her mural reflects Paisley’s artistic journey through life.
“As a child, I was always in art classes. My friends and I would visit this artist’s studio. We had a different art project every week. One week it was papier-mâché and the next week a painting,” said Paisley. “In high school, I focused on oil painting. In college, I got a degree in Psychology. Once I graduated, though, I realized that I wanted to teach art. I taught for several years then took a break to start our family. After having children, I didn’t want to go back to the classroom but I knew that I still wanted to work in an art studio atmosphere.”
Luckily for Missoula, Paisley’s dream of owning an art studio space persisted. Located inside The Mercantile Hotel, CREATE Art Bar has an urban-chic vibe, glowing with artistic flare like sputnik lights and bright, geometric patterns. “I did a lot of the design work myself,” Paisley said. “It was a lot of fun putting my own touches to it.”
How does CREATE Art Bar work? Paisley curates a menu of projects to inspire any customer’s muse. Whether it’s for a birthday party or a fun date, each person can choose their own project. “Arttenders” are available to answer questions and give guidance. Projects range from $10 to $50. “I strive for inspiring creativity in people,” explained Paisley. “We’re not just designed for artists. We have the simplest projects all the way to complex pieces.”
Reservations are encouraged but drop-ins are welcome when space is available. Each session lasts three hours to allow for the most relaxed, enjoyable crafting experience.
“We want you to be able to finish and take it home in one sitting,” said Paisley.
CREATE Art Bar also accommodates private events. “It can be a fun redux of the office party,” Paisley said. “One business gave us their logo and we designed a four foot by three foot art mural that they could complete together. They had 15 people working on it at the same time.”
Besides crafts, Paisley offers inspiration in their variety of libations. The bar includes a selection of wines and craft beers. Taking the idea of “craft” drinks to another level, the menu of cocktails and mocktails reads like an art history review.
“Our most popular drink is the Spicy Frida, a jalapeño margarita named after Mexican artist Frida Kahlo,” she said.
Paisley and her husband spent five years forming their vision for the business but 2020 upped their long-range plans a bit. They started assembling Take-and-Make Kits for pick up and online orders. The concrete coasters project is a bit hit.
“Over the holidays, customers ordered kits for their families that they couldn’t visit. They’d go online and craft together," said Paisley.
This year, CREATE Art Bar will host special events with Missoula locals.
“We’ll reach out to artists to teach workshops. It’s a way to support them through exposure in our community. Plus, we’ll host wine tastings featuring an artist or art project.”
Whether she’s coming up with fun names for tasty drinks or crafting with a creative newbie, Paisley wants art to be fun.
“We want it to feel social, not intimidating. My favorite customer is the one who comes in and says, ‘I’m not creative.’ After they finish their project, they’re so proud of it and they walk away with a smile on their face.”