What do you get when you combine an art and craft studio, DIY shop, event space, and gathering place to meet family, friends and kindred creative spirits? You get Catalyst Creative Studio, a family-owned and lovingly operated hub for artistic expression that opened this month in Downtown’s Urban Union.
About four years ago, Catalyst Creative Studio was born when sisters Helen and Amy Yoon and their husbands Jaime Marum and Albert Lin purchased an existing “paint and sip” studio in Carrollton. Although the partners knew they wanted to incorporate other mediums into their practice, they operated for a while under the existing name, “Painting With Influence,” to ensure a smooth transition.
Three of the four partners continued to work in full-time jobs – ranging from operations, management and legal to accounting, finance and IT – in addition to exploring their passions for all kinds of fine art and music. The fourth partner, Jaime, became CCA’s full-time chief operating officer and resident artist.
As the studio experimented with new mediums, the partners also started taking some classes on the road. In December 2018, they began offering water “marbling” on silk at Legal Draft. They sold out nearly every time, and recognized the potential in Arlington and downtown in particular. Soon after, when their lease came up for renewal, the partners decided quickly what they wanted to do.
Now, just as CCA is opening its doors in its new Urban Union location, Downtown Arlington sat down with partner Helen Yoon to chat about what’s next.
Downtown Arlington: What drew you to Downtown Arlington’s Urban Union?
Helen Yoon, Catalyst Creative Arts: We are so happy to be home! As residents of Arlington, we really enjoyed coming to Legal Draft Beer Co. to offer workshops. We saw all of the investment, development and potential that the City, Downtown Arlington, Maggie Campbell (DAMC), and Ryan Dodson (Dodson Development) were fostering here. Plus the space at 400 E. Division is so unique, retro, and cool. We knew we wanted to be a part of it.
DA: Catalyst Creative Arts is a family affair. What do you enjoy about working together?
HY: We each enjoy all kinds of creative endeavors, from painting to crafting to music and writing. We are always sparking ideas off of each other.
DA: It seems to us that Catalyst is as much about making memories as making art. Would you say that's true?
HY: This is definitely true. People these days are really into having an EXPERIENCE with their family and friends. They want to do something, make something, learn something new. For us, it’s not about making everyone an artist. We want to introduce art and creativity into people’s lives, helping them out of their comfort zones to try something they may never thought they’d enjoy. For this reason, we’re constantly learning ourselves, whether we’re doing R&D on a new craft or collaborating with other artists, artisans, craftsmen, etc.
DA: Summer is right around the corner! Tell us about your Summer Art Camp.
HY: We schedule two, 1-week camp sessions during the summer months: one in June and one in July. We like to keep the classes fun and on the small side; less than 20 kids. We have a variety of arts and craft projects for each day and we’re always adding something new. By the end of the week, the kids have a nice body of work to take home.
DA: Talk about ways the studio engages with local artists.
HY: We’re so happy to make new friends and connections within our local art community. Once we saw our space in Urban Union taking shape, we knew we really wanted to help artists be seen and appreciated by others. That’s why we’ve created a “feature wall” in our studio where we’ll exhibit work by a different local artist each quarter.
Another way we’re hoping to celebrate local artists will be gallery events. For instance, we’re teaming up with a Fort Worth-based artist group called House of Iconoclasts to present our first art show later this year. We’ve also begun collaborating with area artisans to host specialty workshop each month. Finally, we also take commissions for Jaime, our resident artist, including works in fused glass, leathercraft, resin, custom tables, pottery, large format paintings, and murals.
DA: What else is on the horizon for Catalyst Creative Arts?
HY: Our minds are bursting with all the things we have in store for Downtown Arlington and surrounding areas! Keep your eyes out for family-oriented workshops like Family Painting, Walk-In DIY, Parent’s Night Out, and more. We also provide mobile art/craft services in which we can bring the fun to you in your home, office or other event venue.
DA: Bonus question: What advice would you give someone who's dreaming of building their own business?
HY: Keep an open mind. Ask for help when you need it. Make friends, allies, and partners. Consider every idea. Challenge the status quo, especially your own. Don’t be afraid to try. Work hard and be joyful.
Catalyst Creative Arts
400 E. Division Street
Arlington, TX 76011
ABOUT DOWNTOWN ARLINGTON
Designated by the State of Texas as the Arlington Cultural District, Downtown Arlington is where creativity, authenticity, and hometown pride thrive and drive what's next. Within its less than a two-mile radius, Downtown is home to a top tier public research university, prolific visual and performing artists and arts institutions, live entertainment, exciting NCAA and professional athletics, one-of-a-kind dining and retail, and a supportive business climate. Stay in the know by subscribing to our e-newsletter and by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.