Tuscaloosa City Schools have been forced to cut corners in its curriculum to satisfy decreased classroom capacities and coronavirus safety guidelines. In a move typical of a town that favors sports, the arts were tossed the curb, depriving many children of a fine arts education for the past year.

Joanna Lemmon has taught children’s art classes for years and saw the desperate need in the community for a creative outlet. Last summer, when parents were desperate to find anything to occupy their children’s time, Lemmon opened the Art Garage in the heart of downtown Tuscaloosa.

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When other businesses were finding it difficult to break even and when many closed their doors for good, the Art Garage boomed with business.

“In all honesty, the uncertainty in the schools brought an extra set of clientele to the Art Garage that I was not expecting,” Lemmon said. “The pandemic probably helped me.”

The Art Garage is a place for pre-school to middle school-aged children to make the sort of mess their parents would never allow to happen in the kitchen. The open play session is one of the garage’s most popular classes for kids, but once a month the Art Garage brings in a guest teacher to host art classes for older community members looking to fill an hour with fun.

The size of each class is limited, but the open play sessions take place multiple times a day from Tuesday through Saturday. In addition to classes, the Art Garage hosts birthday parties and is excited to begin summer camp sessions this June.

Students will have the opportunity to make their own dollhouses, toolboxes, learn about and recreate Renaissance masters' most famous works of art, and a potpourri session titled Paint and Create.

“I am so humbled and honored that the community has received us so well. We are just grateful and can’t wait to see what else is in store as the business grows and grows,” Lemmon said.

For more information on the Art Garage, go to their website here or follow them on Instagram here.

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