By Madeleine Ahlborn | firstname.lastname@example.org
ALAMOSA Chamber of Commerce posted on instagram a few weeks ago about instructor positions available for the Wet Paintbrush, located on Main Street in front of Safeway.
I sent an email asking about submitting an application for a part-time position and connected with Jania Arnoldi to meet for an interview.
At the time I had only seen pictures and heard stories from friends who had attended evenings at the Wet Paintbrush, also known as “paint and sip.”
I had no idea how big and beautiful the studio space is. I walked in for our initial meeting and was in awe of the massive windows, light pouring in. Despite the location on the highway, I could see myself getting lost in a painting here.
On April 19 Jania and her husband, Chris, sat with me at Milagros, on the corner of State and Main in downtown Alamosa, where they shared their excitement and story behind how they came to decide to embark on this new family endeavor.
Alamosa Citizen: How did you all decide to embark on this new adventure taking on The Wet Paintbrush?
Jania Arnoldi: So, It was kind of being in the right place at the right time, but something that really interests me. We’ve been in Alamosa now for three years, and we love the community and we love doing things. My favorite thing the first year I was here before COVID-19 was just going out to the events and participating in things and having something to do. Back in Tucson, we would hide out in our backyard and swim – we didn’t really get out and meet people. So that first year here being able to do that we really felt tied to the community. When my family all moved up here, all my adult children, this opportunity came up. I thought we could do this all together as a family. We aren’t art-type people but we are business people to some extent, so it’s really an opportunity to learn about the art and the art community, things like gesso (chuckles).
Chris Arnoldi: That’s the major part for me, is family. It’s going to be really cool.
Jania Arnoldi: And everyone (Arnoldi family) has said; “yeah I’ll do my part, yeah I’ll learn, yeah I’ll help.” Yesterday I taught them how to put a painting on the website. Even the 16-year-old said “I can do this part of the job.” We’re hoping, because we have such a big family, have the ability to cover more time, that we find a way to do more things like be open more than just Friday and Saturday night. Like being open for company events and birthday parties, etc.
We’re also working around some ideas around “open paint time” so you could come in and either work on your own thing without an instructor or follow an instruction packet that we will put together. We are still figuring that out.
Chris Arnoldi: We could be the better Chuck E. Cheese.
Alamosa Citizen: What are your current goals?
Jania Arnoldi: Right now our goal is to have enough instructors so we can reach out and say; “Hey, can you do this day at this time to instruct?” Our goal is to have a long enough list to cover different events.
Chris Arnoldi: As far as goals go, I think within a year getting to that point of having a full schedule for the week and doing community events. And as far as the community goes, we didn’t want to see this go away. There was that real chance, because we’ve already seen so many businesses go away and I was bummed about that. This is the only place you can do something like this is quite an area, so we saved it.
Jania Arnoldi: Christa and Javier have really invested a lot of time into this and have really made it great but now they are limited and they are having a baby, but they aren’t going away, they still work with me. Coming into summer we already have the painting scheduled, not the instructors, but the paintings are selected and they are on the website. Callie Adams was an instructor with Christa and Javier and she loves it and wanted to stay on so she will be the instructor the first two weeks in May.
Alamosa Citizen: What can community members expect if they want to sign up for a class?
Jania Arnoldi: The website is staying exactly the same. There are already paintings posted and prices on the site https://www.thewetpaintbrush.com/. So people can sign up on the website or email or call to schedule. If a company or business wants to reserve the space for a teambuilding event, email is the best way to schedule something and we can build an instructor crew around that.
The Arnoldi family took over The Wet Paintbrush on May 1. May 6 will be the official opening night as new owners. In honor of Cinco De Mayo, they have planned to paint “Magic Guitar,” a popular and colorful image that will bring a frame-full of fun to the studio.
Meet the Wet Paintbrush instructors:
Madeleine (Maddy) Ahlborn
Earned a BFA in painting from TUFTS University and the School of The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA and an MA in painting from Adams State University. She currently works for local news and media platform Alamosacitizen.com, where she tells stories about artists from and around the San Luis Valley, both in written form and also a podcast series called, “Creative Citizen: The Unexpected Artist.”
Maddy has come to understand that an art practice, no matter the medium, changes with you as you grow as a person; through connection, collaboration, and experience.
BS Degree in Graphic Design and Fine Arts from Union College in Lincoln, NE. Taught high school art for 8 years. Has taught children’s art classes for elementary schools and the rec center. Enjoys painting with oil and drawing. Loves art history and will share any little tidbit she hears about fun art stories whenever she gets the chance. Has shown art at Milagros and will do so again in the future. Follow Callie on instagram @Callie079
I am a 38-year-old mother of 2. I have always had a passion for art, but that passion grew, as my children got older. I have seen the beauty of the world and I wanted to capture it forever. So I began painting. When I paint I feel calm and at peace. I just want to share that feeling with others, so they too can gain the joy of creativity. I am a self-taught artist and believe everyone is good at art as we all see art differently. This journey is and continues to be a creative outlet that I can enjoy for the rest of my life.
Samantha (Sam) Wisener
I am an American born in Mexico; in 1981 my family moved to rural Colorado. After graduating from Pensacola Christian College (PCC), I completed three watercolor landscapes for SLV Medical Center in Alamosa. My husband and I moved back to Alamosa in 2005, where I spent 15 years raising and homeschooling our two kids. My style is based on my art foundation, with my personal experiences and emotions put into the landscape. I love creating art that conveys peaceful, awe-inspiring emotions in the viewer. I want to portray visually how I feel and experience the outdoors: adventurous, exciting, peaceful, and the wild power that you experience from nature. I work from life.
A Colorado Native. Moved to San Luis Valley from Aurora in 2018. I am a mother of four and a grandma of two. I have been painting and drawing since I was a little girl. I love to paint animals and landscaping. My favorite medium is acrylic paints. I love to create and craft. I look forward to teaching painting to new people and of course, someone mentioned wine. LOL.