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From Plate to Pottery: The Story of Catalyst Creative & The Return of Wheel Wars

Vision to Reality

Catalyst Creative Arts has reopened at its new location on Main Street! Catalyst Creative was founded by Jaime Marum and his wife, Helen Yoon, along with Yoon’s sister, Amy, and brother-in-law, Albert Lin. What started as a conversation over family dinner has transformed into a vibrant arts organization dedicated to teaching, supplying, and supporting Downtown Arlington’s developing creative community.

Catalyst Creative Arts is not just a family-owned operation, but family-run as well. While Jaime runs the usual day-to-day tasks, his co-owners help with the behind-the-scenes responsibilities and his son helps lead the pack of rowdy children during summer camp activities. Everybody plays their part to see the vision come to life. Even their dog Cookie can be found front and center, ready to greet customers as soon as they enter.

Artistry runs through the Catalyst family’s DNA; Jaime’s father was a musician and Helen’s mother was a painter. After years of on and off discussions, the family finally decided to turn their passion into profit. They bought an old “Paint and Sip” business, changed the name to Catalyst Creative Arts, and started hosting classes, events, and birthday parties.

Though the 2020 pandemic was a major setback for business, like with most cultural arts organizations, Catalyst Creative Arts held strong and never gave up hope. Since then, Catalyst has been returning to a sense of normalcy for themselves and their customers. The revitalization of the summer camp program proved to be a shining beacon of optimism for business and continues to see great interest from the Downtown community. Summer camps last a total of eight weeks, starting in June and include all age groups, so be sure to register now before all the spots sell out!

Wheel Wars Pottery Competition

Catalyst Creative’s Wheel Wars returns this year! This is an opportunity for amateur potters to come out and show off their skills in a head-to-head competition where eight competitors contend in 3-round eliminations. During each round, competitors will be tasked with creating different forms, shapes, and objects under a specific time limit. The final product will then be judged by guest judge Kay Bernier, a local crafter and pottery teacher.

Wheel Wars takes place on March 25th from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm on the outdoor stage located between Growl Records and Division Brewing. The event is free to attend, so be sure to bring your friends and family out to come watch this high-energy clash of clay while drinking freshly brewed beer!

Catalyst Creative Arts serves as a catalyst for the growing pottery community in Downtown Arlington, for there are few places for beginners or advanced potters to practice and learn something new. Jaime and the rest of the Catalyst crew hope to fill that gap by offering classes and by inviting guest instructors to teach more complex concepts, such as raku pottery.

Year-Round Programming

For the aspiring creatives looking to get in touch with their more artistic sides, Catalyst Creative Arts offers a year-round rotating schedule of classes and programming, including leathercrafting, fused glass, and water marbling, a historical method of dyeing fabric, such as scarves. Classes are offered intermittently throughout the year, but always fill up quickly as more and more people learn about Catalyst through viral TikTok videos.

Additionally, Catalyst hosts "3 Wednesdays" workshops for more advanced projects that require more time to complete. These projects do not increase in difficulty, for the workshops are intended to be accessible for all levels of experience. "3 Wednesdays" offer a more intimate setting with a smaller class size so that the instructors can take their time in explaining the concept, process, and execution.

Catalyst Creative Arts is a welcoming environment where the owners’ passion for the arts radiates in every program or event that they host. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or an expert in the arts, there is something for everyone. Be sure to check out the new location and try your hand at creating a personalized clothing article through water marbling or join one of their upcoming specialized classes.