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Empowering Art and Creation

Kenai Art Studio and AR Workshop offer the community specialized art and DIY project instruction.

Kenai Art Studio

After years of teaching art at pop up events and organizing public events all over the Cincinnati area, Katia Zhestkova realized that there was a local need for art classes for kids and adults in the area. This led her to open Kenai Art Studio in downtown Mason. 

We chatted with Katia about the evolution of her art career and the development of her studio. 

What is Kenai Art Studio’s general mission and what kind of events do you hold there?

Our mission is to teach art while giving our students the freedom to be themselves, to innovate, and to be creative, helping them find personal fulfillment while having fun.

Kenai Art Studio offers art classes where we teach basic and advanced painting and drawing skills. We work individually with every student in the class giving them the projects that fit their skill level and individual instructions to help them grow at their own pace. Also, we do a lot of private art events like Paint Night and various fundraising events.

When did your studio open? 

We opened our business in February of 2020. I guess I couldn’t have picked a worse time to open a business! We still joke about it. But our business survived and we were even able to offer summer art camps. We are now offering several regular art classes and private events.

What kinds of art classes do you offer? 

We offer painting, drawing and mixed media classes for kids and private art classes for adults. Each class usually consists of seven to eight students. Our students acquire basic and advanced skills depending on their level of interest. We take students with all skill levels, and we help them develop, grow, and use their imagination. The most important skill we teach is creativity. Our studio is a very positive, judgment-free zone. 

What mediums do you work with? 

We use acrylic paint, watercolors, mixed media techniques, acrylic inks and drawing with pencils, markers and charcoal. We encourage our students to try various materials. 

What do you like most about creating art? What about that feeling do you try to bring to your art classes? 

I love art because it gives me and my students an ultimate freedom to be ourselves. I regularly observe how my students get more confident as they celebrate their successes. Looking at a beautiful painting they have made, makes them realize they can produce something real and lasting. That gives them a great sense of accomplishment!

What do you have planned for the future of Kenai Art Studio? 

We offer our regular art classes, and we will have various workshops for adults. People can always contact us if they are interested in private art events for family and friends or a fundraiser for their church or organization. The registration for our Summer Art Camps will start in March. 

Kenai Art Studio

105 East Main St, Mason

513.703.1650

katia@kenaiartstudio.com

KenaiArtStudio.com

AR Workshop Mason

AR Workshop was created in 2016 to offer in-person, instructional workshops to help participants create customized home decor items. Everyone leaves with a sense of accomplishment and a finished project they created at every workshop. Projects made at these events include plank wood projects, canvas tote bags, pet beds, blanket ladders, box trays and much more.

The Mason AR Workshop franchise was opened in January 2019, and Ann Puckett took ownership in October 2021. We spoke to her about what people can expect from their workshops and projects. 

What kind of projects do you work on at AR Workshop? 

AR Workshop is a do-it-yourself boutique where you can create personalized home decor from raw materials while having a great time with friends and family.  

What can one expect from your workshop experiences? 

They can expect an over-the-top DIY experience where we walk them through each step from color selection, techniques and project assembly with power tools. There is no experience required. We have so many people who leave feeling empowered that they were able to get crafty and out of their comfort zone, all while having a great time with friends and family. Drinks and snacks are welcome. We do several open classes as well as private events to make the DIY experience personal and fun. 

What's your favorite kind of project to work on or teach?

My personal favorite is our Swap ARt! It’s a framed square with a swappable sign placed in the middle that you can change each season. I love the options and the different ways you can "swap out" your design depending on the season to keep your decor fresh.  

What is usually included in your DIY-To-Go Kits? 

Our DIY To-Go Kits contain everything you need to DIY at home - all wood or canvas, paint, stencils, brushes and instructions. It is a fun way to do a project with family at home especially with the winter season upon us. About 80% of our normal project catalog is available for to-go options, so there is always plenty to choose from. 

What do you like most about AR Workshop? What inspired you to open your own franchise?

I love that I get the opportunity to help our customers make personalized decor for their home.  Having something created with the colors you want and displaying your family details makes it special. I love teaching others, helping them bring out their inner craftinista and empowering them to use power tools. 

I wanted to create a place where others could come together to create as well as own my own business again. The AR franchise model worked with my vision, so I jumped in! 

What do you have planned for the future of your AR Workshop location? 

We are planning on expanding our class schedule to include a full array of kids’ educational programs, summer camps, and specialty classes. We'd also like to include more charcuterie, entertaining designs and how-to styling with complementary decor. 

AR Workshop Mason

113 Reading Rd, Mason

513.229.8088

ARWorkshop.com/mason

  • Benny, the studio pup, is a big hit with students who draw his portrait to display.
  • Katia Zhestkova-owner of Kenai Art Studio