GTPulse: Discover Your Inner Artist At This Old Mission Art Studio

Every time I drive through Old Mission I think, ‘why don’t I do this more?’ I typically don’t care for being in a car. Other people’s driving often irritates me or makes me carsick, and I personally find driving pretty dull, but yesterday underneath an overcast sky and sandwiched between crashing waves and lush vineyards I felt very happy to be driving. Nestled into a little nook of Old Mission is art studio Tinker Studio, and inside the studio is a display of art all made by local women.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. There are plenty of gallery showings at any given time in Northern Michigan, what’s another one? This display of art is special. All of these women aren’t formally trained artists. Tinker Studio co-owner Mary Kay Burbee has taught these women how to draw through one of her many art classes offered at the studio.

The displayed art is from four women who have taken drawing lessons from Mary Kay. Some of the women came to class with absolutely no drawing experience and some came with experience from college or high school.

“Art isn’t for everyone but it certainly is something that most people can tap into through some medium” Mary Kay said.

Mary Kay doesn’t require that her students have any background in art, and she provides all material for her classes. She observed a lot of growth from many of her students. The students continued to sharpen and build their drawing skill, and would show Mary Kay pictures of their artwork on their phone.

“I thought, ‘this is not how you look at art.’ You can’t understand it or connect with it through a phone.”

Mary Kay decided to put on an art invitational. She had four of her students give her work of theirs, and she hung them all up gallery style on Tinker Studio’s front room wall. Then she threw a party to celebrate the art, and celebrate the ladies who are growing with their art.

“They were a little nervous, this was a new thing for all of them. They had never exhibited like this before. What was really beautiful was the response of their friends and the community.”

Being able to display their art gave the ladies an opportunity to show their skill and growth to friends and family, and to feel pride of ownership. The drawings are markers of how far each woman has come since they began taking classes with Mary Kay. The women are proud of their work, and Mary Kay is proud of the women.

“It’s a celebration of a lot of growth.”

Tinker Studio offers much more than just drawing classes. Mary Kay believes that everyone has the ability to access and draw out artistic ability from the right side of their brain, some people just utilize that natural creativity better in a specific art form. She teaches classes in any drawing, several types of painting and even unique art forms like bead weaving and creative journaling.

“The beauty of the classes here is I supply all the materials. You don’t have to go out and get a whole list of supplies and take your first watercolor class only to find you don’t like watercolor. I’d rather people work with my supplies initially and see if it’s the right fit. If not, well let’s jump over and try pastels.”

She runs the studio with her husband who is also an artist, and they both reap a lot of joy from being able to help their community find an artistic medium that makes them feel good. Beyond classes, the studio sells art from local and national artists, as well as gift items like candles and greeting cards.

If you’re looking for a new creative outlet, or just looking for a fun date night or girls night out, consider taking one of the many art classes that Tinker Studio offers. The drive is lovely, the studio smells really good (thanks to a specific scent from a favorite candle) and Mary Kay doesn’t just demonstrate how to draw or paint or create, she teaches how to build creative skill and how to see something like an artist does. You may surprise yourself at what you could be capable of with a little instruction and inspiration.


Categories: GTPulse