VIDEO & STORY -- Artistic Tutelage, 220 E. Glenwood Ave., sells artwork and crafts on consignment and offers classes, paint nights and children's craft nights

A new shop has opened in Smyrna, selling artwork and handmade crafts on consignment while offering art classes and parties.

Denise Clarke held the grand opening for Artistic Tutelage Oct. 21 in the Smyrna Mart shopping center, at 220 E. Glenwood Ave., near Acme.

“It’s been a lifetime goal for me to have store like this,” she said.

She previously worked as a pediatric nurse, but she’s always loved drawing and painting, and she took art classes in high school.

“As a nurse, when I’d see a child who was sick, I would draw them something to try to make them feel better. I’d ask who their favorite cartoon character was and draw something they’d be able to take home.”

Her first business was more along the lines of nursing, Smyrna Health & Nutrition, which featured a variety of health food and drinks. The last four years, Smyrna Health & Nutrition was in the same location in the Smyrna Mart where Artistic Tutelage is now.

However, her dream of a career in art kept growing.

“It finally got to the point where I said, ‘I want to do something fun that I like to do,’” she said.

At Artistic Tutelage, Clarke offers artists, jewelry makers, woodcrafters and anyone who makes items a place to sell their creations on consignment.

“They can put their work here on display in their own booth, and I sell it for them,” said Clarke “They get a check at the end of the month for what’s sold, and they don’t have to be here.”

One of the artists is Clarke’s nephew, Angelo, who’s 7.

“He has own section, ‘Angelo’s Corner.’ He’s an old soul. It’s not like talking to a seven year old,” said Clarke. “He shows people all around, and then he says, ‘This is my corner, Angelo’s Corner.’ Then a lot of times, they’ll buy something he’s made. He’s a little entrepreneur.”

Art instruction is also offered at the studio. Clarke holds “paint nights” where anyone, regardless of experience, can try painting a certain scene, with all the materials and guidance provided. Then at the end of the night, they get to take home their creation.

“Paint nights are a lot of fun,” Clarke said. “A lot of people are surprised because they didn’t think they could do it.”

Clarke is also setting up monthly classes with her sister, Debbie Mantegna, on a variety of subjects. Mantegna’s skills include painting designs on flower pots and river rocks.

“Each crafter I’m asking will be teaching something different,” Clarke said. “It’s not just me painting all the time.”

Just before Christmas, Clarke held a kids’ class, so parents could go out shopping while children made crafts – including some that could be gifts for the children to give.

“It was great because it gave the parents some time, but the kids are learning and doing, not just sitting around playing on an iPad. They were actually doing something creative,” Clarke said.

So far, her favorite parts of starting the business have been working on what she really loves and meeting other people who share her interests.

“I enjoy helping people. I’ve had customers say this is best thing to happen in Smyrna for some time,” said Clarke.

Store hours and contact info

Artistic Tutelage is open six days a week, closed Monday. Hours are Tuesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sunday from 12-5 p.m.

The phone number is (302) 514-9320.

The Facebook page is “Artistic Tutelage LLC”.

“When people go on Facebook and like it, they’ll see I post things frequently about what’s new, photos of what we’ve done, jewelry, crafts – it’s pretty cool,” said Clarke. “But people really need to come in and check it out in person. What we offer is unique. You can’t go to the mall and buy this. Everything is homemade and handmade. I always say the best gifts are homemade gifts.”