If you’ve ever driven through the York neighborhood, perhaps you’ve spotted an old purple church and wondered what’s inside. The answer is just as whimsical as you might expect: It’s home to Creative Hope, a community art studio. Instead of pews and pulpits, the sanctuary is now home to canvases and painting supplies, but old stained glass windows still flood the space with a natural glow. 

Owner Nicole Mann has a background as an art teacher and is working on a masters degree in counseling and art therapy. Her goal is to make the studio space inclusive to all identities, and she believes everyone has the ability to be creative. The magic is in the process, not the outcome, so playfulness and self-expression are encouraged. 

“It’s the perfect place to try something new because it’s a judgement-free space and a beginner-friendly space,” says Mann. “There are so many mediums to choose from and it’s really accessible.” 

In addition to hosting children’s classes, Mann also holds private sessions for individuals and groups. Visitors to the studio are welcome to explore mediums such drawing, paint, clay, fiber arts, mixed media, sculpture, poetry, and movement. 

The studio also hosts monthly workshops — or “play shops” — with artists in the community, and information about upcoming events can be found online at creativehope.studio. Regardless of age or experience, Creative Hope offers something for everyone.