While Boulder folks tend to have a creative streak, it’s often buried behind high-tech jobs and a busy culture.
But the owners of POSH somehow knew if, given the right atmosphere, instruction and encouragement, they could reveal the artist in anyone who walks through their door.
POSH, an art studio that combines painting instruction with events that bring people together, opened April 1, 2011, at 1468 Pearl St. on the Pearl Street Mall – in the middle of the hub for Boulder artists.
“People in Boulder love art,” says Marsha Burch, who owns the business with husband Lloyd, and daughter and son-in-law Adriane and Andrew Fejer. “They love supporting the arts and many want to be involved in something creative. POSH is the place where people can leave their computer and express themselves with paint.”
To celebrate the business’s grand opening, the owners hosted a kick-off class with more than 60 friends and family members, Marsha says.
“POSH can hold 60 so we thought that was a great way to begin,” she adds.
The location provides 1,700-square-foot of studio and retail space, as well as a 900-square-foot basement, in which customers can learn how to paint personal masterpieces while sipping on a glass of wine or beer and socializing with other novice artists. POSH provides the paint, brushes, canvases, wine and beer (for adults) as well as step-by-step instructions on how to paint a work of art that customers can take home and hang on their wall or give to someone special.
Besides helping many locals discover the artists within themselves, POSH also supports experienced artists or students by hiring them to teach classes. It has an ongoing interest from artists interested in working at POSH.
“Most of our artists are also doing some type of formal education in art,” Marsha says. “We ask that they be scheduled to work the bar or teach a class. This gives our artist a chance to see how their fellow artist breaks down a painting for a class. It keeps everyone engaged in all parts of the business. Because Boulder is full of budding artists, we find most of our artists by them coming into to POSH and talking to us. We have a process before hiring that gives a potential employee a chance to experience a class, present some of their art and then they teach a ‘mock’ class.”
Of the four owners, Lloyd is the only artist and he occasionally teaches at POSH, Marsha says.
“You’ll find him most days painting for his own pleasure, though,” she says. “Each owner has the responsibility of keeping things running: inventory, schedules, accounting, payroll, training and marketing. Most of our employees have either education classes or part time work outside of working at POSH.”
While the economy hasn’t been the ideal one in which to open a business, Marsha says the POSH has grown every month since opening.
“People are finding that coming to POSH is money well spent. Instead of going to a bar and just drinking, they can come to POSH and have a glass of wine or beer and actually create something.”Marsha Burch, owner
But it’s not just adults who enjoy the POSH experience. It’s available for classes and parties of all ages.
“Most adults comment that they haven’t picked up a paint brush since kindergarten,” Marsha says. “The children who come have no fear and many come to celebrate their birthdays. Businesses come to have team-building activities. People set up anniversary parties, sorority events, mother/child get-togethers: anything someone wants to celebrate, we have had it at POSH.”
It’s no surprise that the Burches and Fejers chose to open in Boulder, considering the Burches formerly owned a computer business here, and all four family members graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
“Lloyd’s family has been in Boulder a long time: he and his father built the family home in Sunshine around 1958,” Marsha says. “We owned computer businesses in Boulder from 1976 to 1998. We have watched Boulder grow and change. Our children have all grown up and worked in Boulder. Even though one has moved away and is now in Portland, Oregon, each says they will always find their way back to Boulder. They can’t imagine living anywhere else for long.”
The Burches have three adult children besides Adrienne: their oldest daughter lives in Portland with her husband, 5-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son. Their son is a doctorate candidate at CU, getting his degree studying algae biofuels. And their youngest daughter recently graduated from CU with a degree in architecture and design.
When they’re not working, the family enjoys skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, traveling, reading, bridge and, of course, painting, Marsha says. But they certainly enjoy running a business that uses more of the right side of their brains than the left.
“It is refreshing to be using the other side of our brains this time,” Marsha says, noting they derive satisfaction from their customers’ discovery of how well the right side of their brains work, also. “It has been so fun to watch people arrive at POSH exclaiming they can’t draw a straight line and leave after class amazed they created their own painting.
“POSH is about having fun, trying something new and enjoying time with family and friends. It is even a great place for singles. They just join the group.”
For more information about POSH or to schedule an event, call (303) 442-POSH (7674) or visitwww.poshsplat.com.