If You Can Imagine It, Yucandu Art
The Webster Groves hands-on art studio offers a haven for creative crafters and for those just looking to have fun.
Kim Harris, co-owner of Yucandu Art Studio, points to a classroom space where kids are busy pouring glitter on glue soaked pinecones. Ceiling-high steel shelves hold boxes stuffed with an treasure trove of craft supplies, and the work table is splattered with drips of paint in a rainbow of color.
“My basement used to look like this,” she grinned.
Twelve years ago Harris was a stay-at-home mom with an art degree and a passion to share art with the kids in her neighborhood. She volunteered at her son’s school assisting with art projects and later started holding art camps in her backyard and basement studio.
“Webster is a very creative community, but there was no local place to go for art,” she said. Her art camps became so popular that she decided to open a full-time art studio where people age 5 to 95 can come and get creative.
She teamed up with Holly Smith, another creative mom, and together they started Yucandu. She said there’s no other studio in St. Louis like theirs, and very few in the nation.
The studio is divided into three parts: a retail space to pick out projects and supplies, a work space for walk-in customers and a classroom for classes, art camps and birthday parties.
Customers can browse the store first to select their project. Yucandu offers base projects to decorate, like picture frames, holiday decorations, animal statues, boxes or canvas. Except for the canvas, all the projects are designed by Yucandu’s staff and made locally from pressed wood.
Next, customers choose how they will decorate their project. The studio offers three methods: paint, decoupage or mosaic. Paint is the least expensive and simplest for smaller children, and mosaic is a bit more expensive and a greater challenge. Each project is priced by the method, and customers get unlimited access to the tools, art materials and glues they need for that method. There’s a room full of art paper and old books to tear up for decoupage, a shelve full of paints and a table with bits of colorful tiles and Venetian glass for mosaics.
There’s also a section of “artsy add-ons” to further customize each project. For example, a project could be painted, then “extras” glued on, like glass jewels, rubber frogs or Scrabble tiles. Artsy extras are priced by the piece or ounce.
Yucandu charges a $3-per-hour studio fee, which includes help from the staff to show customers how to use the various tools, glues or techniques on display in the studio. Projects that aren’t completed in a sitting can be stored in the back for up to 30 days, but Harris said that most projects can be dried quickly enough to take home the same day.
“It’s you-can-do, not we-can-do,” Harris said. She said her method is to teach customers a method for creating art, then stepping back and letting them explore. She said most of her customers create art even better than the displays her staff set up around the studio.
Harris said their target audience are kids age 6 to 12, but many adults like to visit the studio, too. She said the studio is the perfect place for grandparents and their grandchildren to share time together doing something creative that doesn’t involved chasing kids around a park. The studio is not suitable for pre-schoolers due to the many sharp tools and bits of glass used in projects.
For more information, call 314-963-4400 or visit Yucandu's website.