By the time September rolled around, Laney again started searching for spaces to lease but the overhead was too much with the ever-looming issue of COVID to consider. If everything shut down again, her little business would be in trouble. However, Laney still wanted to provide art learning opportunities in any way she could. The Fort Worth School District was still fully virtual at the time, so Laney chose to begin a small outdoor class in her driveway as a trial run for Art and Soul. It was a huge success!
What started with 3 students grew into 6, then 8. It was hard work. There were countless trips in-and-out of the house to get every class ready in a day. Both tables and chairs needed to be wiped down once a week after getting them out of the shed in her backyard. On colder days, Laney had to set up in the sun to keep from freezing. Occasionally, she had to switch days due to rain. Mosquitos were a nuisance at times, but she kept going. Until April hit.
April is, historically, the worst month for wind in Fort Worth. It’s windier than Chicago. April 2021 didn’t disappoint on the wind front. It was awful. Every piece of paper had to be rubber cemented or taped down on the tables. Paint palettes had to be held down with rocks, newspaper strips for the paper mache project were scattered all over the yard with the slightest gust of wind. It became impossible to have a problem-free class. At that point, it seemed like Laney would have to take a break. It was becoming too difficult to manage with the elements of an outdoor class to deal with.
That’s when Brittany offered to help. Her kids were in the class and loved it. When she found out Laney was taking a break, she wanted to help keep such a wonderful class going. So, with a much shorter break than expected Laney took up the offer of help, and together they started up Art and Soul again in May.
With a degree from Texas Tech University in Visual Studies (Art Education), Brittany Holmes is certified to teach grades K-12. She substituted and assisted in many classrooms over the last 10 years. At that time, art always played a prominent role in her life. With three kids of her own, her artistic side has only grown as she searched for new ways to incorporate art activities into her children’s daily life. When she found out Laney was teaching art out of her carport, it was a no-brainer to send her kids there. Seeing how much all of the kids loved Laney’s outdoor art classes, a place where they could explore their creativity freely, rekindled her own dream for more art instruction in the Fort Worth area.
Having Brittany’s help changed EVERYTHING. She was the perfect ying to Laney’s slightly kooky yang. She didn’t try to take over the class, but she didn’t sit back and wait to be told what to do either. Working together, the classes became easier and even more enjoyable.
After the “wind break” in April 2021, the perfect space became available across the street from both of their houses. It was a wonderful backdrop to the kind of business they were looking to create. Laney learned that the building, located beyond a church in their neighborhood, would soon be tenantless. She immediately contacted the Church to enquire about the space. The very next day she toured the space. It took about 30 seconds standing in the space to know it was perfect. She took Brittany up to see it a few days later, and she fell equally in love.
With a little TLC, they prepared for opening day. They did not expect to become partners when all of this started, but they can’t be more pleased now. Their excitement for Art and Soul Studio continues to grow with each day’s work. In the future, Brittany and Laney are excited to see how Art and Soul transforms and look forward to introducing even more courses, from formal art education to craft and project-based lessons for all ages and skill levels.