Discover the artist in you with a fun night of guided instruction and a little wine on the side
By KIM HENRY » Photos by SUSAN FRANCY
Once upon a time in 2010 two young ladies from Raleigh, North Carolina went to a party, and enjoyed some wine with friends while they got creative with paints and canvas. Everyone had such a fun time that these age old friends wanted to do it again. Four years later, they are the proud owners of the very successful Wine and Design Franchise that is taking America by storm. Then in 2012, Claudia Wooten-Outlaw was looking for her next business venture when the Wilmington branch of Wine and Design came up for sale ― and so began the next chapter.
Born in Kinston, North Carolina, Wooten-Outlaw has always been an entrepreneur with a spirit for adventure and business. Her degree in business management was attained at age forty-two, once her two daughters had finally flown the nest. Her youngest daughter, Sarah, is studying to be a veterinarian and her elder daughter, Kathleen, is the Events Planner for Blockade Runner. Having Kathleen in town made the move to Wrightsville Beach from New Bern all the more desirable for Wooten-Outlaw. “Ironically we hardly ever see each other,” she laughs, surrounded by little wooden easels and a collage of paintings that adorn the walls of the Landfall Wine and Design studio. “We are both so busy but we just love our work and that’s a wonderful thing to be able to say.”
Wooten-Outlaw began her career as a travel agent and spent 15 years in the industry, thriving from the constant interaction with people from all over America. “I’m very much a people person. I love meeting new people and it’s a huge part of why I love Wine and Design ― I get to chat to all sorts of people, from the scouts, to the seniors and everyone in-between!” explains this vivacious lady. Wine and Design Wilmington is her most exciting venture to date and she is clearly loving every minute of it.
The concept of Wine and Design is simple and yet genius. Every evening of the Calendar month there is a new painting on offer. You simply go to the Wine and Design web site, choose the painting that inspires you and walk into the studio on that given night. There you will find your own easel, canvass and paints awaiting you, complete with the original artist of the painting who is ready to guide you through the steps to completing your own unique creation. “We really encourage people to have fun with it,” smiles Wooten-Outlaw. “The artists are there to lead people and give advice about which brush to use and how to blend the paints, but they also make sure that everyone feels free to add their own twist and get creative!” Wine and Design is the ideal opportunity to explore art and get experimental with something new, especially if you are heading out on your own for the evening.
The Landfall Wine and Design studio is a hive of activity, with a wide range of themed nights and facilities for private parties. They regularly host bridal showers, team building events, paint-your-pet night, kids classes and fund raisers where a portion of the evenings income goes to the chosen charity. There is also a date night where a couple get to paint one another. “That’s a lot of fun,” grins Wooten-Outlaw. “It’s great to see their faces when they finally reveal the paintings to one another. We’ve even had three proposals of marriage in here!” Not one to waste a minute, during the day Wooten-Outlaw opens her doors to the local treatment center where people recovering from addictions can benefit from the therapeutic nature of art. “Everyone gains from getting creative. I’m not an artist by any means, but I see the positive impact an evening spent in the studio has on people every day ― it’s a real blessing,” Wooten-Outlaw gestures around her to the myriad of diverse art work. And just in-case you can’t make it in to the studio, design-on-wheels is the mobile version of this venture and Wooten-Outlaw loves to travel.
There are ten local artists sharing their talents at the Wilmington branch of Wine and Design, each with their own unique form. From surrealism to detailed fine art, there is a style to suit every taste. “I once had two huge hell’s angel dudes come in as they traveled across the country, for an evening of fine wine and painting ― they loved it. When people ask me who my cliental are, I can honestly reply ― everyone!”