IUP alumna hosts artistic and adult events in local studio


As more and more schools continue to reduce programming and budgets for the arts, former art teacher and local artist Kristin Olson decided to fill what she saw as a major gap in the Indiana cultural scene with the founding of her painting and art education business, Kristin’s ArtCart.

Olson loves reaching out to kids through art, as she believes that art education is very important.

“There is a passion for art in every child,” Olson said.

Olson, who is a state-certified art teacher, graduated from IUP in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in art education, and served as a substitute teacher in the area for several years before taking a hiatus to have kids and start a family.

However, in September 2015, Olson found herself being drawn back to her artistic roots and decided to return to teaching. It was during this period that through a little bit of chance and luck, she received the inspiration for Kristin’s ArtCart.

The idea for the business first came to Olson when one of her friends wanted to have an art-themed party for her daughter and asked Olson to serve as a visiting artist.

This venture was such a success that it served as the catalyst for Olson’s current business. It made her realize that there were not many opportunities for kids to enjoy art-related activities in Indiana.

According to Olson, she “started out mostly as a party service.” However, with art-themed events like Painting With a Twist becoming trendy with adults, Olson decided to expand her business to cover all ages. Olson also noted that her love of teaching all age groups, not just children, was a motivating factor behind this decision. In fact, one of the reasons that she decided to leave substitute teaching was because this opportunity allowed her to reach more than one set age group.

In September 2016, following a year as a solely mobile service, Kristin’s ArtCart took the next step in its evolution when Olson and her husband converted a property that they own at 465 Oak St., Indiana, into a formal studio.

Thanks to this conversion, Olson is now able to offer a wide range of events in addition to still serving at off-site events and private parties. Olson now offers several different monthly workshops and courses that are open to the public and are geared toward people of all ages.

One such course is the monthly “Wee Ones” workshop. It is designed for children ages 2 to 4 and provides kids and their parents with a chance to learn about painting and create several pieces of art together.

The ArtCart also hosts a monthly course that teaches elementary school children about art. Adult-themed events, like the popular “Canvas and Cocktails” night,  allow participants to indulge in their love of adult beverages and art at the same time.

Despite being a relatively new addition to the Indiana art scene, Olson has found the community response to be a positive one.

“It’s been excellent; it’s been really excellent,” she said.

Thanks largely to word-of-mouth advertising, Olson’s business has seen plenty of growth, and she hopes to be able to continue to share her passion for painting and art education with the Indiana community for some time to come.

Information about upcoming monthly courses and special themed events that will be hosted at Kristin’s ArtCart, as well as contact information to reach Olson about scheduling a private event, can be obtained via Olson’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/KristinsArtCart