As a former art director in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Lindsey Danhauser has long been dedicated to encouraging art at the community level.
Founded in 2007 in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Kidcreate Studio began interacting with the local community arts center where Danhauser worked. For 11 years, Danhauser partnered with Lara Olson, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Kidcreate Studio, to offer on-the-go classes and host community events at the local Eden Prairie art center. When Danhauser moved to Chicago in June 2018, she discovered Kidcreate Studio was seeking to expand there. She knew it was her calling and decided to invest in the brand she had worked closely with to bring art to the family-focused Lakeview community.
Having previously connected with Olson, Danhauser was elated to join the brand as a franchisee, signing a three-unit deal in 2018 along with her business partner and friend, Allison Durkee.
“We agreed that we were both looking to do something for ourselves for once,” said Danhauser. “Allison had been in corporate finance for some time and wanted to be more of an entrepreneur. I felt similarly. While I loved my municipal job with the local community center, it was very focused on pleasing everyone. But with Kidcreate Studio, I saw how my values aligned with the brand and vice versa. Being a franchisee, and one for an arts education brand, I know I can focus on growing at my own pace within the community.”
In March 2019, Danhauser opened her first Kidcreate Studio in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago and has since been actively looking to open a second location within eight months near the Illinois suburb of Oak Park, just west of Chicago.
Danhauser stated she is excited to bring more than just a business perspective to the classes offered at Kidcreate. She has added technique and art vocabulary to her curriculum and has found success sneaking in creativity with video game themes such as those borrowed from the popular battle game, Fortnite.
As a classically trained artist with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, Danhauser worked in galleries throughout college. However, she soon discovered her passion was in art administration and engaging with individuals at the community level. Danhauser returned to school, earning her master’s in arts and cultural management. She then began working with community arts organizations, Eden Prairie among them.
“I believe art is for everyone, so to provide it at the community level is monumental,” said Danhauser. “To me, creative education is the No. 1 role to fill for the future. It’s necessary that kids today access creative thought to come up with new ideas. I admire and connect with the Kidcreate learning method, since it is all about providing fuel for creative cognitive processes, building community and including everyone in art classes.”
Danhauser has already created a strong presence in the Lakeview community, just as she did in Eden Prairie. An active member of the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce, she is dedicated to serving diverse needs within the community, as well as partnering with public art institutions, local schools and businesses.
Danhauser created ‘Date Night’ specials in which her studio hosts classes for students in the evening while parents are encouraged to check out nearby eateries and businesses with which she has partnered. In May, she is holding ‘Five Days of Giveback’ with a nearby school in which 15% of sales earned at her Kidcreate Studio went back to the school to fund supplies.
“I learned in Eden Prairie that art involvement is all about creative place-making,” stated Danhauser. “I’ve brought that mentality to Lakeview. I am fully dedicated to our great studio staff as they grow with Kidcreate Studios in service to the Chicago area.”
Another standout feature of Danhauser’s studio is that she is able to pivot with the community and their needs by changing class schedules and reacting immediately to the requests of students and parents.
“As a parent of two girls, I know that life happens sometimes,” Danhauser said. “I’ve changed sessions by rescheduling or adding classes to accommodate parents’ needs. We have an open flow of communication at all times so parents know they can always talk to me when a change in school schedule happens.”
That same flexibility Danhauser displays with her customers is evident in her role as a franchisee with Kidcreate. She said that being a creative owner of her own establishment gives her the capability to spend time with her daughters and the arts.
“One of the many benefits I’ve found with Kidcreate Studio is the ability to actively engage with my daughters and have them participate in the business with me,” said Danhauser. “There’s something so much more powerful when you can interact at that close level with your business. It’s even more exciting when you grow it yourself.”