P.A. artists pair up to build new creative space

Jessica Gies

Special to the Herald

A bright idea has become a labour of lemony love for a pair of Prince Albert art instructors.

The Lemon Yellow Art Studio had its grand opening Friday, with co-owners Tia Furstenberg and Kayanna Wirtz eagerly greeting their first guests.

“It’s been a wild ride but lots of fun,” said Furstenberg, 24, of the venture now underway at their 15th Avenue East location.
With its fresh new look and friendly vibe, the studio is sure to become a hub for seasoned artists and beginners alike.

“My vision is to show people how to bring art into the everyday world,” said Wirtz, 25, who will begin teaching screen printing at the studio in mid-January.

“There (are) really cool things you can do with it,” she said, describing the intricacies of texture and deeper design work possible with screen printing.

Finished prints can be applied on posters, clothing, merchandise and more.

Wirtz hopes to see businesses and charitable event organizers use the studio’s creative tools and the artists’ aid to add a more personal finesse to their brands.

“(We’re) blending the line between fine art and commercial art,” she said.

“The more digital everything becomes, the more important it is to have a bit of knowledge about design and art,” Furstenberg added.

While Wirtz will focus on screen printing and digital design, Furstenberg will teach painting and drawing. Covid precautions, such as individual art kits, will be in place to keep participants safe at all times, they said.

Wirtz will also lead a foundations class, melding together multiple methods for those looking to dabble.

“If you’re unsure of what you want to focus on, it’s a little taste of everything,” she said.

Evening classes will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, as well as a drop in class Thursday. Their “Art After Dark” events will be hosted later on Thursdays for those who want to enjoy a more adult-driven experience, including refreshments provided for inspiration. Tickets for these nights will be available online.

Wirtz, who studied education with a major in visual arts, is also known for co-founding the local Chester Fest music festival. For her day job, she runs programming at the arts centre downtown.

“I don’t like being bored,” Wirtz said with a laugh.

While working at the arts centre, Wirtz began taking Furstenberg’s virtual water colour painting classes.

Soon, the two were putting their heads together to begin planning their studio.

“The more we talked, the more we decided we were on the same page,” Furstenberg said.

It wasn’t their first time meeting. Their paths had crossed numerous times over their early years – while dancing at the Performing Arts Warehouse and attending École St. Mary’s High School in Prince Albert. They also attended the same print-making class in university.

“We’d been on each others’ radar,” said Furstenberg, who is the registrar and digital media coordinator at the Mann Art Gallery.
Now, a year after their collaboration began, the doors at Lemon Yellow Art Studio are open.

The studio’s name was inspired by a favourite paint colour according to Wirtz, who described it as a “sunny, fun, energetic colour.”

The pair plan to explore more possibilities as their venture progresses. Boasting more than 2,300 square feet, their spacious studio could see guest instructors in the future, as well as private print-making nights for sports teams or local bands looking to create and print their brands on jerseys and t-shirts.

Parents of the studio owners couldn’t be more proud, showing up to Friday’s event in full support.

Lora Wirtz supplied hand-crafted crocheted lemon stress balls as door prizes for her daughter’s grand opening. Roger Wirtz reminisced over his daughter’s early artistic expressions, often garnering attention from strangers with her eye-catching designs. He’s “extremely proud” of his daughter, he said.

Furstenberg comes by her talents honestly. Her mother, Wilna Furstenberg is known in the community for her artistic endeavors, including art journaling and photography.

At the event, the mother described how early exposures to art piqued her daughter’s interest, but dancing was more prominent in the young Furstenberg’s life. It wasn’t until reaching university that young Furstenberg began to fully pursue visual art.
Her father, Josias Furstenberg, tried out the printing press at the studio, saying how congratulations were in order for the young entrepreneurs.

Among those trickling in through the doors Friday night, Christien-Louise Werner and her two children came to see what the studio had to offer. Werner plans on bringing her children to the studio again and may become more involved herself.“I’d love to do classes,” she said.

Her son, Reuben Werner and her daughter, Willow Werner, both gave the screen printing press a try, proudly of their take-home tote bags featuring the Lemon Yellow logo.

Online registration is now open for studio classes set to start in the new year.

For more information about the studio, visit Lemon Yellow Art Studio on Facebook, Instagram and at www.lemonyellowartstudio.com

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