A Creative Life
Studio Whimzy brings art to Oxonians of all ages.
BY CHRISTINA STEUBE | PHOTOS BY PAUL GANDY
Residents of Oxford are lucky to live in a town where the arts are not only vibrant, but both appreciated and celebrated.
Sarah Kathryn Dossett Bridgers, owner of Studio Whimzy, has made it her mission to bring out the creative side in the community through educational classes.
“I always wanted to teach so I decided to try it and see if it works,” she says. “It just took off from there.”
Dossett Bridgers began with children’s classes, camps and birthday parties in 2010. But she’s an artist that doesn’t just stick to one type of art. Her students use paint, pottery, plaster of Paris and other methods to create their little masterpieces. Studio Whimzy now hosts Paint Pals classes on Wednesday mornings for 3 and 4 year-olds and Art Club for children 5 and up on Wednesday afternoon. She also has children’s classes during the Summer, Spring Break and Winter Break.
“If they’re out of school, we’re at the studio,” she says.
In addition to hosting classes at the studio, Dossett Bridgers also teaches children at Willie Price Lab School.
“The young kids are like sponges,” she says. “They just soak it up. We think they aren’t capable but it’s amazing what they can do.”
The preschool aged children created pieces for an art show at Willie Price on April 20. The students derived inspiration from sculptor Peter Anton, whose subject materials often include food items such as candy donuts and ice cream. She said the students have been very receptive to their lessons.
“I always try to connect what we’re working on to an artist so they learn a little bit of art history while creating something,” she says. “Kids need art. It’s super important. In this day and age, we’re so focused on STEM, but kids need to be educated in art. They don’t get enough of it.”
“I’m definitely not trying to change the world, or maybe I am. I just want to help people live a creative life and lose the fear of being wrong.”
But she doesn’t just want children in Oxford to find a creative outlet. Through Studio Whimzy’s Z Events, adults can create their own individual masterpieces through step-by-step instructional details. In many cases, the Z Events are seasonally themed for Christmas, springtime, autumn, football, baseball – all the important seasons in Oxford.
One of the most popular Z Events is “Paint Your Pet,” which is hosted monthly. Artists submit photos of their pet and Dossett Bridgers sketches it onto a 16×20 canvas. Each person leaves with an image of their companion, whether it’s a dog or cat or a lizard or a bird.
“It really is a great memento to have,” she says. “Ninety-eight percent of people are always amazed that it looks just like their pet.”
She started the adult classes several years ago when they grew in popularity and thoroughly enjoys making everyone feel like they have the ability to create something.
“I want to make people believe they are capable. I teach it so they can fill their life,” she says. “I’m definitely not trying to change the world, or maybe I am. I just want to help people live a creative life and lose the fear of being wrong.”
Dossett Bridgers tested her own capabilities this year, and it paid off for her. For the first time, she entered the Double Decker Arts Festival’s poster contest, and her art was selected as the winner.
“I watched the poster contest for years but never felt I like was ready,” she says. “People ask me how long it took and I say seven years, but the design took a few days.”
Her design incorporated drawing, pen and watered down acrylics in a style that she developed about a year ago. In the poster, the iconic double-decker bus is built from famous Oxford landmarks in a bright and colorful way.
“I knew the poster must include the bus in some way, and I wanted to incorporate all the other Oxford symbols into it.”
Dossett Bridgers created more art for Double Decker. The winners of the Double Decker run will receive handmade awards crafted by Dossett Bridgers. Additionally, she will have a booth on the east side of the Oxford Square facing Neilson’s featuring a variety of works she’s created.
Studio Whimzy is located at 807 College Hill Road. For more information about upcoming events, visit studiowhimzy.com.