Splattered color on a white surface might sound like the leftovers of an art project awaiting clean up. But, sometimes, that splatter is the art, steeped in the history of artistic expression and the movement of paint. In Meagan Robichaux’s studio, that happens to be an after-school lesson that delighted her art students. “They thought they were making a mess, but I taught them about Jackson Pollock,” she says.
Since July, Meagan has been creating these lessons out of The Art House. It truly looks like and feels like a house, located on the first floor of the “pink house” in Cahaba Heights off of Pipe Line Road. Nestled back behind Heights Village, everyone seems to know this pastel-colored little building and what Meagan’s working on there. From after-school art to girls nights, she is filling the neighborhood with a unique artistic spirit.
Her first-floor space, a few rooms right now, wears the looks of a studio. There are projects here and there, and florals sit on the floor from a workshop the night before. Along with Meagan’s own abstract hanging on the wall, kids’ artwork lies on the windowsill, waiting to go home with its creators. She always wants students to go home after a class with at least one complete piece.
Meagan is quick to say she loves instructing art, that she maybe even likes it better than making her own art by herself. Through teaching, especially with kids, she gets to explore the fearlessness of a true artist. “Kids are some of the best artists because they’re not afraid to just jump in there. They embrace mistakes,” she says. “As we grow older, we are more hesitant and afraid to make them.”
It might be new to Cahaba Heights, but the studio is nothing new to Meagan. “I’ve always wanted a place called The Art House,” she says. Through her childhood, she grew up around art classes out of her mother Diddy Vucovich’s studio, The Art Factory in Montgomery. Meagan taught some of the classes herself as she got older and saw the beauty and importance of making art in a child’s life. “It was always in the back of my mind to do what my mom did.”
After The Art Factory closed when Meagan was in middle school, she continued to make creating and studying artistic technique part of her life through her coursework and college degrees in art history and art management. And her dream for The Art House came a little sooner than she thought with the right need and the right space opening up. She’d been holding art camps in her house during the summers, but her dream to have her own space has finally become a reality.
When a few of her friends told her about the space in the pink house, she quickly made a business plan and started booking art camps and birthday parties. “The space is so charming,” she says. “I think that if I moved, people would get upset. People know the pink house.” Both she and Freedom Soap (on the second floor) have filled this empty space, each bringing new creativity to Cahaba Heights, where Meagan also lives with her family.
Still not even a year old, The Art House melds classes for kids with Meagan’s love for art history. Meagan’s after-school students are making art to bring home, but she’s wrapping these projects with historical art movements, like impressionism, to deepen her lessons. “You can learn so much through art history,” she says, looking around her studio at the French-inspired colors and brushstrokes in front of the white walls.
Some kids walk after school from Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights to The Art House for lessons, making art classes a new part of the neighborhood routine. “It’s such an interesting community,” Meagan says. “I have a lot of mentors, people who’ve owned businesses in Cahaba Heights who I can ask questions. They’ve been so helpful and supportive.”
Although it’s in the backyard of Cahaba Heights residents and the school, The Art House has been drawing students from all over. “I feel like the first couple of birthday parties I had in August really helped bring people in and see what it’s all about,” Meagan says. “In the back of my head I always feared that there wasn’t a need for it. The schools are great here, they have great art programs, so why would anyone need their kids to take art?” But she realized that there was something about the relaxed atmosphere of art-making that kids, and everyone for that matter, craves.
Still growing her (essentially) one-woman business, Meagan has been brainstorming what could be next. Looking into the large, open room connected to her main class space, she dreams of having a gallery space to hang the work of local artists—and also to showcase her students’ work and their pride in the pieces they admire.
Meagan recalls the first birthday party she hosted when the six-year-old birthday girl wanted to learn how to draw horses. So Meagan taught the girls to draw and paint exactly what she wanted. “They were so proud of what they had made. I knew I was doing something right,” she says. “They just jump right in and make the art their own.”
The Art House is located at 3131 Bellwood Drive behind the Starbucks in Cahaba Heights. Learn more at thearthousebhm.com.
What’s at The Art House?
After School Art
Meagan offers after school classes (usually for ages 7-12 as of right now) Monday through Thursday. Each lesson focuses on a different style and medium for students to explore
For ages 3-5, these classes are held Tuesday through Thursday for little ones.
Monet, Mommy & Me
For kids 12 months and up, Meagan’s mommy & me classes have been popular when she opened for families to create a piece of art together.
Meagan is available to host birthday parties on Saturdays, and she customizes activities for the birthday girl or boy.
These can be scheduled by The Art House or organized for your own group of girls. Meagan hopes to have more adult classes with different leading local artists.