Moseying around Manhattan: Studio’s Canvas and Cork event is a ‘Straight Upp’ good time

Photo by Erin Poppe | The Collegian Straight Upp instructor and Manhattan resident Rachel Motley paints the first stroke of the night at the studio's Canvas and Cork event last Wednesday. Patrons were guided, by Motley, through the process of painting a turquoise cross.

By Wednesday night, the stresses of the week may be piling up, but Straight Upp Creative Studio’s Canvas and Cork event is here to help. At 6 p.m., guests gather in the Aggieville studio, beverages in tow, for some space in front of a canvas and from the stresses of the world.

Each station is outfitted with a canvas, easel, brushes, paint and an apron — everything you need to start your personal work of art. The class is guided by one of the studio’s energetic instructors who walk the painters through each piece step-by-step.

Guests are free to work at their own pace, and the staff is sure to build in plenty of time to socialize and indulge in the namesake of the event.

“While we’re waiting for those to drink, let’s dry,” said instructor Rachel Motley, who quickly corrected herself to scores of playful laughter.

The uniquely fun and positive atmosphere promises nothing but a good time.

“We’re teachers who haven’t gone back to school yet,” said Linda Polston, a middle-school teacher in White City, Kansas who was enjoying summer vacation with a group of co-workers from White City Schools.

Whether you’re a serious painter or just looking to blow off some steam, Canvas and Cork offers a creative escape to all who pass through the door.

“It’s a great asset to Manhattan; housewives needed this,” Mary Ann Angelos, a Straight Upp regular, said. “Spending time with girlfriends and doing something like this — we just love it.”

Owner Dell Ann Upp, a graphic designer by trade, has overseen the studio’s growth as it continues to offer more products and services.

“We are so lucky to have the support of great friends who keep coming back,” Upp said. “We’ve been open since March, and things have really taken off.”

Straight Upp is part of a collection of local gems that make Manhattan a great place to live and work. Guests said they found Upp’s caring customer service and entrepreneurial spirit very inspirational.

“She’s a great businesswoman who juggles a lot,” Angelos said.

In addition to classes, Straight Upp offers pottery painting, product rental and an expanding array of merchandise. Their private event bookings also bring in many different groups from all around the community. From wedding parties and family gatherings to office socials and team-building retreats, the studio offers a one of a kind experience with a local face.

“We’re thinking about doing it for an in-service,” said Polston, whose group decided that more of their co-workers would benefit from the experience.

For the student crowd, college nights take place on Thursdays and feature half price studio fees.

Reservations for Canvas and Cork and other classes can be made online at Business is booming and space is limited, so be sure to sign up early.

Theo Stavropoulos is a recent graduate in political science and human resource management. Please send comments to