Opening of a creative art studio and DIY lab in historic downtown Greendale

The best friends who met at Greendale High School in the early 90s opened a creative art studio and DIY lab in historic downtown Greendale.

“We are really about developing people and improving their self-confidence through the creative arts,” said Erin Dummert, owner of Field Workshop with Virginia Emmons McNaught.

“We believe the best learning happens on the job, and so we try to give experiences that are driven by passion and just unscripted, never-ending learning processes.”

During Field Workshop hours, kids and families can create or craft at various stations in the 2,700 square foot space at 5686 Broad Street.

There are painting and craft supplies, a woodworking area for kids to “hammer and saw and learn to build”, electronics that people “can take apart and look inside”, slime, papier-mâché, wall mural and glue gun station, says Dummert.

“We just provide the materials and the space, and let them,” she said.

While participants lead on their own, workshop staff are available to “guide and support them through their experience.”

“We believe everyone can take the stress out of their daily routines and allow themselves to tinker, create and imagine, and explore or rediscover their creativity,” Dummert said.

“One of the things we really want is for people to come in and get lost and be kids again.”

The workshop is open from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Dummert recommends pre-registering for a time slot, but walk-ins are accepted if there is availability.

It costs $15 per child for a 90 minute session, and an additional 30 minutes can be added for $7. A pack of 10 costs $135.

Children under 5 must be accompanied by an adult, Dummert said, but children 5 and older can be dropped off.

‘I love it’

Bettina Zivney’s daughters, Brynn, 8, and Piper, 5, have each attended the workshop three or four times since they discovered it in late December. The studio opened at the end of November.

“They love it,” said Zivney, a Franklin resident.

Her daughters usually do art-type projects, paint, cut pieces of wood and use a hot glue gun, she said. Recently, they learned mechanics with Greendale High School’s robotics team.

“So many kids don’t have the opportunity to just create, whether the parents don’t have the materials or it’s not always possible to have the time at home, or if they’re like me, I don’t always feel like cleaning up the mess,” she said. “Kids can go (to the Field Workshop) and use their creativity.”

Since Zivney has been working from home, she said the workshop is a “really good solution” when her kids are out of school.

“When they can go out there and have a place to create and do things for me to work on, that’s super helpful,” she said.

Courses for children and adults

The studio offers classes for children, including sewing and drawing, and classes for adults, such as Art Uncorked, in which the studio partners with a local artist, and Vintage 38, the neighboring wine bar.

Piano, voice and guitar lessons take place three evenings a week.

Class times and prices vary, and the schedule can be found on the Field Workshop website, thefieldworkshop.com.

In the summer, the workshop plans to offer camps and programming with educational components.

On days with no scheduled programming or workshop times, private groups, such as homeschooling groups, can register for the space.

Inspired by homeschooling

Dummert has three children and McNaught has two, and both have experience homeschooling their children.

“We thought it would be something our kids would enjoy, our families could use, and would be a blessing in our community,” Dummert said.

McNaught co-founded Global Field Academy in Miami, which provides a network of micro-environments, coaching and field experiences, all in a small, multi-age, private home school setting, according to its website.

Through Field Workshop, Dummert said he wants to support other homeschooled families in the Milwaukee area by providing space for them to try something new or create programs that meet their individual needs.

McNaught is a “big thinker” with “big visions,” Dummert said, as she focuses more on the “day-to-day” operations of the company.

“In any partnership, you need both of those things,” Dummert said. “That’s why I think we are a good team.”

‘Pay it forward’

Field Workshop has a “pay it forward” initiative, where people can donate workshop experiences to those in need.

“That’s not a asked question,” Dummert said. “If you think this would be a good thing for you, let us know.”

If someone wants to use a “pay it forward” workshop, Dummert said all they need to do is call ahead to set it up.

The program is funded by donations to the studio’s website and commissions from the sale of local artwork displayed in the space.

A gallery evening takes place on February 20 with the artists whose pieces decorate the studio, and commissions from the event will go to the program.

Coronavirus precautions

Field Workshop requires customers and staff members to wear masks.

Hand sanitizer is placed at each station, and staff wash “everything,” Dummert said.

Staff temperatures are checked before their shifts.

Capacity is limited to 10 children at a time “so they have plenty of room to be free and explore without feeling constrained,” Dummert said.

People who are not feeling well should not enter the space, she added.

“Our ultimate goal is to create a space where people feel comfortable and to bring the community together,” Dummert said.

Contact Hannah Kirby at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @HannahHopeKirby.

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