Leave the Mess to Us
New child centered arts business in Lakeview is booming.
“They had me at mud pie kitchen,” says Meredith Duke, assistant director of early childhood education at Little Gate, the preschool at Louise S. McGehee.
She’s talking about the recently opened walk-in art and play studio, Lil’ Yats. The business is the creation of Christine Crosby and opened in Lakeview just two months ago.
Lil’ Yats’ colorful and inviting 1,500-square-foot space offers a wide range of experiences, from a daily art project with all materials provided to sensory and texture walls for babies and toddlers.
“We want children to come here and be able to create freely,” says Crosby. “Our art studio has a collection of engaging process-art and craft-based projects and our play studio is set up to allow for open ended pretend and interactive play.”
The space also offers a stage, a puppet theater and a play kitchen. Outside, children will discover a mud kitchen and a fully stocked sandbox.
Crosby is an artist who studied photography at Savannah College of Art & Design and also holds a master’s in arts management, but it is her work as a nanny that inspired her business plan.
“I was always looking for interesting places to take the children and this is exactly the kind of place I was always looking for,” she said.
Lil’ Yats effortlessly blends such early education philosophies as Reggio Emilia and Montessori with Crosby’s love of art, fun and exploration.
“Art is always the first thing they pull from schools when budgets are cut and I think it’s the very last thing that should ever be cut,” she said.
So far, business is booming. Crosby’s already held eight private parties and the studio stays busy with lots of walk-ins, from just one or two children to a group of mothers bringing their tots for a rousing morning of group play.
“I like all the crafts here,” says 10-year-old Allie. “It’s a fun place and you can get as crafty as you can.”
Lil’ Yats classes are geared toward children as young as one and all experiences are open ended so children are welcome to join anytime. Crosby also offers an Open Studio, which takes place every Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
“This is a great time for your child to work on that Pinterest or messy homework project,” she says. “They can create while leaving the mess with us.”
Crosby’s building has space upstairs and she says she’s already looking for ways to expand her young business.
“This is all very important to me,” she says. “No matter how they play; it’s all art to us.”
202 W. Harrison Avenue