The Sellwood-Westmoreland neighborhood has quickly become one of the hottest places in Portland to raise kids. It’s got a good neighborhood elementary school, affordable community center and pool, amazing parks and playgrounds, kid-friendly restaurants…. But one thing Sellwood didn’t have was a place to create art with kids of all ages. Until now.
Enter Little Loft Studios. This sweet spot located in the heart of Westmoreland is just what local families didn’t know they were missing.
I’ve stopped in twice so far—once with my 6, 4, and 2-year olds, and once just with my youngest, to check out their open art studio.
When I entered, the first thing I was struck by is how clean it is! I don’t know how they do it, because one art project into a morning at my house and it looks like the Crayola factory had a meltdown in our dining room. But tidy it is. The studio is mostly bare wood and white (I know, right?!) but with lovely, organized splashes of color everywhere. Bright-colored washi tape, paints, and other supplies line spare wooden bookshelves. It’s like the Ikea version of an art space, in the best sense.
I was quickly greeted by one of the studio’s two trained art educators, Keira (the owner) and Emily. Both are imaginative and patient, and able to tailor art projects for a variety of ages. They can show you around the studio and let you know where to get started.
The typical set up for open studio is to have two changing art projects at the long communal center table. These can be gluing, painting, collage, construction… really anything art-related. The guidelines are loose, allowing children to explore the medium in their own way. For instance, a “collage” project by my two-year-old resulted in a small (okay, large) mountain of glue with a piece of construction paper elegantly placed in the center. For my older children, they were more content to make their projects look closer to the sample.
The studio also has a few static stables. There is a playdough/sensory table in the back with lots of rolling and stamping supplies. There is also a painting area in the front by the window, where kids can create feathers to add to a coming-soon mural of wings, or to bring home. A large doll house and a stack of books are also available for art breaks.
Key for parents: Kahveology coffee shop is just across the street.
Key for kids: There’s a large bathroom inside for potty breaks.
In addition to drop-in open studios, Little Loft offers regularly-scheduled weekly classes, like an art history workshop for kids ages 5-7, an art exploration class for kids ages 2.5 to 4, after school classes for elementary kids, parent-child classes, and more. There’s even a class just for grownups (don’t tell your kids).
Little Loft also has summer camps and no-school camps. You can find out all the details on their website.
Little Loft is located at 1520 SE Bybee Blvd.
Open Studios are currently held Fridays and Sundays from 10 am to 12 pm
$12 drop-in, with $6 for siblings