Settled between an 1839-built Greek Revival building known as the Old Customs House and a just-opened expansion building, the Erie Art Museum displays an expansive collection of American and international art and fosters artistic growth with a series of educational programs and thought-provoking shows. Along with free admission to exhibits, members enjoy invitations to exclusive special events, including a private preview of the 88th Annual Spring Show on Saturday, April 16. Discounted tickets to concerts and performances such as the Contemporary Music Series let membership-wielders explore the nether regions of audible art that allow for bobbing heads, tapping feet, and pumping fists. Members looking to live out dreams of becoming an artist can enjoy reduced tuition for the museum's art classes and workshops. Groupon buyers get a 15% discount off services from the Museum Frame Shop, and a 10% markdown on merchandise in the museum gift shop can help fill the registry for a wedding between an artist and the world's foremost collector of Pennsylvania-theme mugs.
Housed within an art gallery and wine shop, the Urraro Gallery outfits artwork and keepsakes with close-fitting protective frames. Staff lead patrons through a smorgasbord of wood and metal frames to find the border best suited to protect a portrait from harsh sunlight or the oily fingerprints of a child robot. A plethora of mats in various colors, textures, and shapes can accent prints, and shadow boxes house treasures such as a collection of medals, a lock of football-mascot fur, or a hobo's shadow. The average cost for a custom frame ranges $50–$150, and frame sizes range from quaint 4"x6" memory-keepers to 40"x60" frames large enough to hold a life-size print of a miniature pony. After framers finish their work on-site, clients can pick up the finished piece in the store or have it shipped home.
For more than 50 years, Van Tuil Photo and Imaging has specialized in protecting, beautifying, and restoring its customers' sentimental items. Photo experts enlarge prints and digital images to new, high-resolution sizes, and restore aged photos and video to like-new condition. The shop's framers fit pictures of all shapes and sizes in custom frames and a range of colorful mats, completing most jobs in under a week. Van Tuil also specializes in preservation framing for items ranging from photos to vintage sports memorabilia.
Claytopia's spacious studio gives children and adults a place to test their creative chops through the medium of clay painting. A wide variety of blank, premade clay bisques offer myriad canvasses upon which the fevered imaginations of patrons may be projected. Bisque prices range from $1 to $50 per piece, and an hourly fee applies ($6 per hour for adults, $4 per hour for children under 13) to cover unlimited use of all paints, glazes, stencils, stamps, and other instruments of artistic creation, including philosophical advice and painting tips from the talented staff. Possible paintable forms include coffee mugs, plates, picture frames, and Disney figurines. All bisques and paints are food, microwave, and dishwasher safe. After painting and glazing their piece of choice, art makers should allow a week for the bisque to be fired in the kiln and laid off from its part-time job before picking up the newly hardened artistic creation.
Cultured Purl is a quaint outpost for neophyte knitters and stitch-laying veterans, providing customers with the tools, fibers, and positive environment necessary to make sweaters and hats out of naturally occurring circular cat toys. The beginner's class will equip you with basic skein-wrangling skills and tricks, such as how to highlight the portrait of Ronald Reagan that mysteriously appears in every right-plaited stitch series. Head to Cultured Purl to master the yarn and thread basics, or gift this Groupon to a sartorially-minded friend with graceful, needle-ready paws. Classes are scheduled monthly, so check online for the most recent schedule before calling to reserve your spot. Upcoming classes are on January 12, 19, and 26, and meet from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. or 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Later sessions are available on February 2, 9, and 16, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. or 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.