MAPLEWOOD, NJ — You may think you are not an artist, but Platinum Art is going to prove you wrong. The family-owned business, located at 463 Valley St. in Maplewood, is an art class, a party and a creative outlet all wrapped into one spot.
“Platinum Art is a creative art studio that provides your perfect canvas for your creativity, whether it is photography, music, art, craft or abstract expressions,” co-owner Hilda Williams told The Villager. “We allow you to be, become and bestow your creativity all the while having fun. We offer a place where the individual or families can come and express themselves through the arts. We host ‘Sip ’n’ Paint’ classes with a slight twist for all ages, also for those who love music and singing along, we will host events that allow you to unleash your inner rock star.”
At Platinum Art, those wanting to unleash their inner artist can sign up for painting classes taught by co-owner Dave Williams. But these aren’t classes where you have to worry about getting into trouble for talking to your neighbor or doing your own thing — it’s encouraged.
“I’m always open to you doing your own thing. Who am I to restrict your creativity?” Dave Williams told The Villager, prior to teaching a class on Oct. 13 in which students followed his lesson but were encouraged to embellish their paintings however they wished. “You can teach a painting class, but you can’t teach personality.”
And not only do the students bring their own beverage to enjoy, but they are drawn into jocular discussions with the teacher, who brings a light-hearted and joke-filled atmosphere to class. Also, did we mention that there are opportunities for karaoke? Because there are!
In addition to the art paint & sipl classes, Platinum Art offers “Cookies and Canvas” for younger artists. And if painting on canvas doesn’t appeal to you, Platinum Art also has classes where you can make signs from wood, assembling the signs from wooden planks and then painting them. This part of the business came about after Dave Williams saw children making boxes from wood; “I looked at it and went, ‘That’s dope,’” he said.
On top of all this, Platinum Art has a large room that can be rented out for parties of all kinds and invites artists from myriad disciplines to come and offer activities, such as acting, music, dance, yoga, software design and more. All of this provides the opportunity for locals who enjoy the arts to network and find like-minded neighbors.
“Everything is art to me,” Dave Williams said, explaining how so many fields require creativity and vision.
Making art is more than just the act of creating something; it benefits the creator and those around them.
“Art allows the mind to wander and tap into a creative zone, allowing anyone to be an artist,” Afua and Kwaku Nuamah, of Platinum Art, told The Villager.
“Art is therapeutic and a great way to express yourself,” Nana Nuamah, also of Platinum Art, said. “Art allows individuals of all ages to share their creative ideas and visions with others.”
One of Nana Nuamah’s favorite moments of working at Platinum Art so far has been attending the business’ first “Cookies and Canvas” party. She said she loved “watching the joy and excitement on the faces of the children painting. Not to mention our children! They had a great time interacting with the other children.”
It was the family’s love of one another and art that led to the founding of Platinum Art. Wanting to embrace their many artistic talents while providing an outlet to the community, the family began planning the business.
“Platinum Art is our love for spending time together as a family and looking for fun, creative activities that we can do together, but also allowing us to express our own creativity,” Hilda Williams said. “We love music, art and hosting events, and Platinum Art allows us to do all that. We all agree that the process has been long and with many bumps, but rewarding in the end. There were many long meetings at the dining room table with Dave drawing many drafts of our logo, the building layout, website design and services, just to name a few.”
After all the hard work that went into building their business, finally seeing it come to fruition has been a dream come true.
“Collectively our fondest moment was the process of seeing the Platinum Art sign being put on the building,” Hilda Williams said. “It became official at that point. It was a great feeling to see all our hard work being displayed.”
And clearly the customers also end up feeling great pride and joy after a class at Platinum Art. From the moment you walk in, you can just feel the creative energy, from the chandelier made out of paint cans to the wall calendar comprised of small clipboards. Platinum Arts owners have truly transformed the building, a local landmark that for decades housed the News-Record. At the beginning of class, some students are a bit apprehensive, but by the end of class, they are all joking with one another like old friends and proudly showing off their paintings, each canvas a unique and beautiful creation.
“I love how impressed people are with their artwork once they are done,” Hilda Williams said. “So many times people come to an event and they say, ‘I can’t paint or draw, I am not artistic at all.’ However by the end of the event they are so impressed with what they have done. We receive emails of customers telling us how proud they are of their painting and where they have hung their artwork.”
Her family members and colleagues also love seeing the transformation that comes over people as they begin to embrace their inner creativity and see what they are capable of.
“The ability to see the joy individuals who attend our events experience is priceless,” Nana Nuamah said. “The laughter and the creativity is truly an experience that is rewarding.”
“Seeing a blank canvas come to life is the most rewarding part,” Kwaku and Afua Nuamah agreed. “It’s exciting to see how everyone is painting the same thing but each painting still shows individuality.”
And Dave Williams just loves watching people create their artwork while having a great time and a good laugh. Though he often gets the jitters just before teaching a class, the moment he stands in front of his easel and sees his students, that all goes away.
“The laughing makes the nerves go away,” he said — both for himself and his students.
And the family cannot think of a better place to have started their business than in Maplewood.
“SOMA is a family-orientated and art-loving community,” Hilda Williams said. “So when we were looking for a home for our family business, we knew it had to be in a community that appreciates the arts and was family orientated. Platinum Art provides fun and activities for the entire family. SOMA and Platinum Art are a perfect fit!”
To sign up for a class at Platinum Art or take advantage of its many other offerings, visit www.platinumartllc.net.
Photos by Yael Katzwer