The multicolored, splattered paint covering the back wall of The Creative Cow isn’t from a paint job gone wrong — it’s from a painting day gone just right, according to Jaime Zang, co-owner of the drop-in arts-and-crafts studio in Forest Hill.
Hundreds of goggle-eyed children have decorated the wall, part of the studio’s “Splatter Zone,” with bright yellows, reds, purples and blues while flicking paint-covered brushes toward a shelf with individual canvases.
“We let them do their own thing,” Zang says of the studio’s overall concept. “Nothing is right or wrong. And they make the mess here and not at your house.”
Open since September, The Creative Cow gives children ages 2 through 10 a place to explore their creativity with traditional and unexpected art materials. A light table, easels, four art stations, a sensory bin and containers of paint, glue sticks, glitter, markers and homemade play dough line the lime-green walls on one side of the room. On the other, there are a dress-up corner and blue Imagination Playground blocks, used to create everything from princess castles to camping forts. In the back, by the Splatter Zone, is a private room for special events and birthday parties.
Zang, a Monkton mother of three, and Nicole Lowery, a Jarrettsville mother of two, launched The Creative Cow after realizing the county lacked a casual place for children to create art.
“There wasn’t a place to do that without signing up for a class,” Lowery says. “It’s just one more thing for the calendar.”
At The Creative Cow, children and their families have a place to drop in when it’s convenient, Lowery says. While some of the activities are guided by staff members, most are open-ended and child-led.
“Creativity comes from giving them the materials and letting them explore,” Lowery says.
The Creative Cow also hosts special events throughout the year, like Messy Mondays for babies 9 to 12 months old and visits from the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore’s Zoomobile.
In the future, Lowery and Zang say, they plan to host drop-off activities for students in fifth through eighth grades.
During a recent birthday party, Michael Sample, 8, and his sister, Emily, 5, strapped on goggles and smocks to create their own masterpieces in the Splatter Zone.
The Pennsylvania siblings said they loved being able to throw paint — especially at each other.
“It’s pretty cool,” Michael says.