Paint It! Kids Brings Color to Life
Writer: Jane VanOsdol
Architect turned artist Kate Jones has created a colorful job for herself in the community with Paint It! Kids. Jones has taken a talent and turned it into a business that doesn’t feel like work but more like a chance to live out her passion.
“It’s not a job to me,” she says. “I’m playing around. I still can’t believe it. I’m just having fun. I’ve been very lucky that this opportunity fell in my lap like it did.”
Jones instructs kids and adults in the art of painting both in her studio and out in the community.
Background In Architecture
Jones has always been interested in art. At Carmel High School, she discovered architecture, taking all the CAD, architecture and design classes she could. She went on to have a successful career as an architectural designer in Chicago before she quit her job to raise a family. Ten years and four children later, her father William Smock decided some time out of the house would benefit her. Smock is an accomplished artist himself. While completing two tours of duty in Iraq, he created military art to help pass the time. CNN picked up on his story, and today one of his paintings hangs in the White House. He also taught art in IPS for almost 40 years.
Make a Deal
Smock made a deal with Jones: he would pay for her to get her master’s in art at the University of Indianapolis if she would commit to taking the program with him. Jones agreed, applied to the program in 2009, and was accepted. She credits her dad with keeping her focused.
In 2012 when her youngest started kindergarten, Jones realized she didn’t know what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. She had been mom for 10 years. She had her master’s degree. She didn’t want to go back to architecture. Who was she?
While Jones absolutely loved art, she didn’t yet see how it could be a career. One phone call in 2012 changed that.
A friend called and asked her to lead a painting party she was hosting. Jones eagerly accepted and posted about the experience on Facebook. Not too long after that another friend whose family owns Heartland Hall Child Development Center in Carmel called and asked her to come in one day a week to teach preschool art. A business was born. Soon other schools started calling.
“I didn’t mean to start this,” Jones says. “It really just kind of fell into my lap, and it was exactly what I needed at that time because I didn’t know what I wanted to do.”
In 2014 Jones and her husband bought an old home in need of repairs on 2.5 acres in Zionsville. The original log cabin of the home was built in the 1830s and the barn is pre-Civil war era as well. Jones wasn’t exactly sure about undertaking such a job until she saw what was in the lower level: an art studio. That clinched the deal.
Paint It! Kids is based out of that art studio and Jones has developed a thriving, mobile multi-faceted business that includes the following:
• Birthday painting parties
• Studio classes
• School enrichment activities for the Carmel, Westfield, and Zionsville school systems
• Summer camps
• Artist in residence program
• Public events
• Adult corporate events and fundraisers
Art Is for Anyone
Jones’ encouraging can-do style makes art possible for even those who don’t feel they have a shred of artistic talent. She chooses projects that lead to success.
“Anyone can do this,” she says. “Everything can be broken down into simple shapes. Once you do it step by step and your eyes start seeing those shapes and how they work together, nothing is hard.”
Thanks to her dad, Jones can demonstrate the process of art come full circle to her budding artists. Smock kept all of her childhood artwork, so when her students get frustrated with a project, she’ll whip out one of her own preschool drawings and set it next to a current painting of hers.
“This and this were painted by the same artist,” she’ll say. “What do you think happened between here and here? And they’ll say, ‘Lots of practice.’”
For information on Jones’ classes and events, call her at 317-607-6379 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The studio is located at 14490 Little Eagle Creek Ave. in Zionsville. You can also visit them online at paintitkids.com.