“Get messy” is actually a posted rule at Make-A-Messterpiece, a new kid-centric art studio located in the Chicago suburb of Glenview. That explains why in one corner of the room a kid beats paint-filled drums a la the Blue Man Group, and across from him another child holds up a piece of paper to a bubble-making machine, catching colored bubbles on it and laughing at the painted splatters it makes. The 10,000-square-foot space also offers a kitchen for nutritious cooking lessons, a lab for science experiments, and a kid-sized table for art projects of all kinds, supplies included.
As anyone who’s ever met a kid knows, getting messy is at the top of his or her list of talents. At the same time, that very trait usually tops caretakers’ list of annoyances. But here, at this fantasyland for kids, getting messy is their duty, and they get a chance to flex their creativity—something that’s proven to help them do better on aptitude tests and change the ways in which they approach problems—in an era when art class is becoming a distant memory in many public schools.
The space abounds with fun activities that are a part of a deeper lesson. At the Kids Creative Kitchen, they get servings of math and science while learning how to make a nutritious treat (for instance, Banana Fana Yo, made from bananas and graham crackers). At the Bubble’ology station, they explore gravity and color while playing with bubbles and paint. Little Sprouts teaches patience and responsibility, as the kids paint a pot and then plant a seedling to take home. Drum Roll is a sound studio where kids explore rhythm and sequence—while beating on drums filled with paint. And future scientists learn how to create and solve problems at the Experimentation Station. Teachers and teachers-in-training watch and teach the children—while moms and dads can relax with a cup of coffee and tap into wi-fi at the cafe.
Make-A-Messterpiece was conceived by Gigunda Group, a marketing agency, and is sponsored by Bounty and its parent company, Procter and Gamble. Founder Ryan FitzSimons says, “Bounty has always been known for cleaning up messes. At Make-A-Messterpiece, it also inspires them.”
In this creative studio, both kids and the sponsor are learning. Peer through the fake, friendly trees and around the bubble machines, and you’ll see the “Bounty” paper towel logo throughout the studio, along with plenty of paper towels within reach. As a sponsor, Bounty can study how its products are being used, test new products, and keep a steady stream of mess makers well within reach for marketing purposes. This blend of fun, learning, and branding research is a clean solution to a messy problem, all around.
By Kate Silver for Parents.com