The Transylvania Times -

Innovative ArtLab Opens Its Doors In Downtown Brevard - Brevard, NC


November 9, 2017

Ray Adams

ArtLab ribbon cutting left to right Vanessa Roberts, Elayne Cantrell, Gus Constantine, Cliff Mashburn, Clark Lovelace, Dana Malone (Communications Director), Barbara Brown, Cindy Spillman (owner), Amber Webb, Allen McCrary, Pat Hampton, Beth Aspray, Cheri Snipes, Becky McDaris, Lucy Dickens and David Jordan.

ArtLab located at 156 S. Broad St., officially opened on Oct. 27 with a ribbon-cutting, reception, and Halloween celebration. Members of the Chamber of Commerce, family, friends and strategic partners joined owner Cindi Spillman for the ribbon-cutting. As many as 100 people attended Halloween events and painted Brevard Rocks.

At the reception following the ribbon-cutting, Spillman, who has roots in Brevard, told how ArtLab started - especially how her mother, the late Brenda Galloway Spillman, inspired her. (Many remember Brenda Spillman from her years as a librarian at Brevard College.)

"When Mom was recovering from a knee replacement (prior to her ALS diagnosis), I was doing my best to show her all the fun she could have if she were to consider retiring," said Spillman. "I had been taking a watercolor class and decided to practice while keeping her company at the rehab center."

"One day, I said, 'You know, if I can do this, you can too.' She said that she doubted that very much, because a teacher she had in elementary school told her that she 'wasn't good at art.'

"After I convinced her that she wasn't the type to let someone stifle her inner Picasso, she decided to draw and paint chickens. So, we deconstructed our two-dimensional chicken into basic shapes: Its body is an oval. Its tail is a triangle. The neck, another triangle. The head, another oval. The beak, yet another triangle."

Spillman said she wants ArtLab to be a place to experiment with different types of art mediums in a stress-free environment.

"We have three rules at ArtLab: 1. Tell your inner critic to take a hike. 2. Try it. 3. Have fun," said Spillman. "At the grand opening, one of my family members who insisted he didn't want to paint ended up painting anyway. A friend who forgot to tell her inner critic to take a hike drew a witch and a cat and painted for the first time. While ArtLab is a place for practicing skills and techniques, more than anything, it's a place to discover and experiment."

ArtLab has several classes on its fall and early winter schedule-including a few workshops that are free of charge. On Nov. 18, ArtLab will present "365 Projects - An Introduction," a way to build a habit around being creative. Spillman said that one year, she decided she wanted to experience more joy in her life, so every day for a year, she photographed something that made her smile or lifted her spirits. She then shared her photographs with others.

"We're going to create a group of folks who take this challenge together," said Spillman. "Through these introductory sessions we'll decide how to best encourage and admire the efforts of our partners in creativity."

On Nov. 11, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., ArtLab will host a Veterans Day Open House, where people can create mixed media tributes. Participants may bring a photo of their veteran to ArtLab and use it to create a mixed media tribute to that person. Registration for the 365 Projects and Veterans Day workshops is not necessary, but appreciated.

ArtLab is offering discounted fees for other classes during its grand opening phase. Among the classes are Introduction to Mixed Media and Mixed Media Quilts. On Nov. 25, Spillman is teaching a class in handmade holiday cards. Students will use various mixed media techniques (including handmade stamps and stencils) to create one-of-a-kind greetings or add to their own holiday decor.

For more information, and to register for classes, go to


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