It started, as good ideas sometimes do, on a napkin in a coffee shop. Chad Turner wrote his first name down the side of the paper and tried to turn it into an art store acronym. The result: Creative House of Art & Design.
That was two and a half years ago. In November, Turner and his husband, Chuck Beatty, turned the napkin notes into a physical space in Covington. At Creative House of Art & Design, or CHAD, kids and adults can take art classes, and shoppers can buy handmade laser-cut jewelry and coasters featuring pop icons or funny sayings and pick up a monthly art kit to DIY their own masterpieces. Starting next month, customers can even stop by for a drink at the bar.
Before the pandemic hit, Turner was a contract art teacher at six different schools. “Within a week” of the pandemic, he says, “they almost all let me go.” So he pivoted to online Facebook classes. He posted daily tutorials, which were so well received, he and Beatty thought, Why not do this full time and be our own bosses?
For kids, there are classes like Arcade Art, where students play a video game and complete an art project inspired by the game; and Character Creation 101, where students learn various character styles, from anime to Disney, then develop a story around that character. Adult art classes include intro classes for Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator and Watercolor for Beginners.
Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, in-person classes max out at six students, who are seated at their own tables six feet from one another. For those uncomfortable with in-person classes, Turner posts free tutorials on CHAD’s Facebook page, or customers can order the monthly creative kit, which includes four paint designs, the primary colors of paint, a color wheel that teaches you how to make additional colors, and any other necessary supplies.
The kits use all parts of the package, Turner says. Students cut up the box to use as a canvas, and they can use the tissue paper for wrapping, collages, or painting projects. Local customers can pick up the kits in-store, or CHAD will ship them anywhere in the U.S. for free—two of Turner’s former students who moved to California have already ordered the boxes.
Last year, Turner and Beatty won Covington’s Center for Great Neighborhoods’ Heart of the Community Award. The award committee recognized Turner for his innovative shift to offering free online art classes—within two months, he had created more than 65 videos and received more than 300,000 views. The committee recognized Beatty for his work within the LGBTQ community, including running OutReels Cincinnati, the volunteer-run LGBTQ film festival.
The reason they won the award together is simple: “I secretly nominated my husband for it because he doesn’t ever give himself kudos,” Turner says. “And I, in turn, nominated him,” Beatty says. “A week later,” Turner adds, “I told him, I nominated you for and award, and he was like, Um, I nominated you for an award, too.”
Creative House of Art & Design, 609 Main St., Covington, (859) 638-0631