When opened at 1912 Springfield Avenue — on the block between Panda Kitchen and the Indiana Street parking lot — in October 2008, the economy was tanking.
A number of prominent Avenue businesses were closing or soon to shutter: Cafe Meow and Wooden You Know among them.
But Express Yourself owners Simone Anthony-Brown and husband Rodney Brown were positive that this was the right decision.
More than three years later, they're optimism and hard work has been rewarded. Express Yourself has been so successful that is has expanded and moved closer to the Springfield Avenue's main "node" at Prospect Street. On January 9, 2012, Express Yourself opened at its new space at 1877 Springfield Avenue (the former location of The Beaded Path, and most recently Kid's Dominion).
The relocation and expansion was celebrated on Saturday, Jan. 21, with a grand re-opening and ribbon-cutting — held inside due to the inclement weather. Local dignataries were on hand and balloon-crafting, caricatures, food and music were provided to visitors.
In its new location, the studio will continue to offer art classes for adults, children and teens, plus host birthday parties, art events and special workshops such as Cocktails & Canvas and Coffee & Canvas Workshops for adults and Painting-N-Pajamas and Pizza & Pottery for toddlers and children.
Express Yourself Studios has participated in and benefited from a growing "instructional cluster" on Springfield Avenue that includes , /, , , , and (formerly Stories in Motion).
“This is our first business, we’ve enjoyed the community, so when we found ourselves needing additional space, we knew we absolutely wanted to remain in Maplewood and on Springfield Avenue,” said Anthony-Brown.
The new location will enable Express Yourself Studios to provide its patrons with a separate birthday party room, additional workshop offerings for families, older children and teens, a completely handicap accessible space, and a larger restroom facility complete with a changing table.
“We’re pretty excited about the move, and invite everyone to celebrate with us at our Grand Re-Opening,” said Rodney Brown.
The Grand Re-Opening is slated for Saturday, January 21 at 1:00 p.m. and includes giveaways, refreshments and entertainment. Anthony-Brown is hoping to have the new signage for the studio completed and installed (fingers crossed!) just in time for the grand opening.
Express Yourself Studios is open Tuesday – Saturday (Sunday by appointment). Call the studio at 973-763-5256 to enroll in a class. For more information about the studio visit www.expressyourselfstudios.com or read Express Yourself Studios’ Blog at http://expressyourselfstudios.blogspot.com to learn about the Studios’ events & happenings!