Tamika Hicks wanted to create a comfortable event space where visitors could relax and be themselves.
What started as a plan for her own birthday became Hicks’ gift to the community. Paints, Chalices & Hues combines artistic fun with drinks and socializing. The simple concept was inspired by an ongoing national trend.
“The business started on a whim,” she says.
Having heard about “paint and sip” parties, Hicks wanted to attend one for her birthday in 2015, but the nearest were in cities like Detroit and Rochester Hills.
“The problem was I like to go to an Italian restaurant in Ann Arbor,” Hicks remembers.
So, along with a lot of driving, planning both a meal and an appearance at a paint and sip event out of town involved logistical concerns. Urged by friends in Flint, with whom she shared her frustration, she decided to organize a party closer to home. The event was too late for her birthday, but two months later she’d hosted engagements at The Cork and Flint Farmers’ Market.
“It was different for Flint,” Hicks says.
Still, the reception was positive. Paints, Chalices & Hues began as a mobile party, but became popular enough to open a studio at 3725 South Saginaw St. Held mainly on weekends, Hicks estimates about 100 events as the business nears its third anniversary in June.
“People realize how relaxing it is, how much fun it really is,” she says.
Like most paint and sip events, Paints, Chalices & Hues features an instructor to guide those unfamiliar with putting images on canvas. Many guests are surprised by the results.
“They don’t have to go far and to create a piece they’ve made themselves, they’re amazed,” she says.
Paint and sip classes have become popular throughout the country and as far away as Hong Kong, even generating franchises like Painting With a Twist. Larger chains have hundreds of locations.
Paints, Chalices & Hues partygoers pay a standard fee of $35 for two hours of hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, and art. Alcohol-free parties may also be scheduled for children – who are among Hicks’ favorite guests.
“My thing with the kids is to just see those smiles,” she says. “Especially seeing Flint has gotten so much negative publicity, I need to see these babies have a few moments of peace, to step away from reality for a little bit, and to be free to create what makes them feel good.”
The next Paints, Chalices & Hues event is a “Miami Vice”-themed “Trap and Paint Party” for adults at 6 p.m. May 19, at 3518 Robert Longway Boulevard.
Hicks, who works in finance as a senior account representative, attributes the company’s three-year run to support from her family and her best friends, who co-founded the business.
While the clientele is predominantly women, Paints, Chalices & Hues occasionally attracts couples and men, a group Hicks wants to attract in greater numbers.
“When you go with your wife or your girlfriend you make an impression on her and you make her more open to things you want to do,” she adds.
Besides, she says, good times are gender-neutral.
“I think, once the men experience it, they do have an awakening.”
For more information about Paints, Chalices & Hues visit the Facebook page or Instagram Paints_Chalices_Hues.