NEWFANE, N.Y. (WKBW) — Tucked away on Main Street in Newfane is a new take on the traditional art studio.
"We are the gym for creativity," says Jess Tomaino, who is the founder of Wild At Heart Illustration studio, or WAHI.
WAHI Studio, a nonprofit art education center, opened its doors early in the pandemic when Tomaino took a leap of faith after working in the corporate world.
"There has to be more for me. There is no way I can sit at a desk and count policy numbers," says Tomaino. "I have all of my own talents, and seeing it in other people really wanting to push other people into theirs".
Believe in Buffalo - Here in Newfane at WAHI Studio where I just accidentally blasted President Jess Tomaino with paint. I was trying to hit the canvas lol. Join us LIVE on Thursday for more on this educational non-profit.@WKBW pic.twitter.com/4CsgTCVZZD— Jeff Russo (@JeffRussoWKBW) February 15, 2022
WAHI Studio offers after school programs, couples classes, chalk camp, and one-on-one instruction in an effort to spur creativity and raise awareness of mental health.
"You get to try out mediums, you get to art journal, you get to go to our reference library, you get to throw paint, punch paint," says Tomaino. "It's a lot of expressive art forms in here because we are really focused on mental health first."
Tomaino says she is trying to make art more accessible and calls creativity vital for problem solving. "These kids need an outlet. A lot of time they are super stressed out when the come in. I see that more and more."
Believe in Buffalo - Throwing paint is one of the cool projects students do at WAHI Studio in Newfane. I unfortunately missed the canvas today. President Jess Tomaino was super understanding. 🤪 More LIVE on Thursday on @WKBW pic.twitter.com/4AwpKqB8Cs— Jeff Russo (@JeffRussoWKBW) February 15, 2022
Those interested in becoming a member, taking a class, or supporting the studio as a sponsor, can see more on WAHI Studio here.