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As the mother of two daughters, Lake Highlands neighbor Lee Fischer has been to plenty of children’s birthday parties. Often the girls arrive home after lovingly-planned events with precious memories – and cheap party favor trinkets that live in her house forever. She had an idea for something better.

Fischer, who’s spent 17 years as an art teacher, created Artistic-Lee Art Parties, with attendees making art projects they take home when the party is done. Most families book her for a birthday or special event and invite 10-20 kids ages 5 and up. Often the party has a theme, so she creates 2-3 projects around that idea and shares a picture book to get the kids started. Then the kids paint, sculpt and/or draw for about an hour.

“I love meeting all of the kids from around the neighborhood,” says Fischer. “It has been so rewarding to see each child’s personality within their artwork. All children are different, and that will show in their artwork if you let them. I don’t tell kids how to draw; I teach them to be creative.”

Starting a new business always brings a few surprises, but Fischer’s most unexpected twist has been the makeup of her customer base. It turns out grownups enjoy making art with their friends, too.

“I created Artistic-Lee Art Parties mainly for kids, but I’m so excited to get adults into the mix,” says Fischer. “Kids are already so creative and have little or no inhibitions when it comes to art, so any experience level is perfect. Adults are a bit more hesitant to be creative if they don’t have a strong foundation with art. I hope that won’t deter adults from coming to have fun and be creative. I am a teacher, and art is a subject that can be taught to kids and adults alike.”

Like many entrepreneurs, Fischer found it challenging to create a home-based business just as the pandemic was halting in-person gatherings. She’s adapted, though, and she believes neighbors are ready to celebrate the special moments in the lives of their families and friends.

“I have found that people are trying to get small groups together now,” Fischer says. “I think people are wanting to celebrate their kids’ birthdays, and Arty Party is working really well during COVID. All of the parties have been outside thanks to the good weather. I cannot accommodate more than 20 kids at a time, which reduces the number of attendees. I wear a mask during the parties out of respect for the kids and parents, and it has gone really well. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.”

For now, Fischer is focused on making each Arty Party distinctive and special for every attendee. Her most useful skill is “classroom management,” she says, which includes teaching kids to use art materials correctly so they don’t make a mess in the host’s home.

“After a year of COVID birthdays and drive-by parties, people are ready to safely and gradually begin to get out and about again. Small gatherings are working really well,” she says, “because having a small party with a unique theme and memorable artwork is unforgettable.”

The cost is $200 for the first ten kids and a $10 supply fee for each additional child. You can reach Lee Fischer at Artistic.Lee.Art.Parties@gmail.com.