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Charmbiance Art Bar is a place where you can sip from a wine glass while painting one. Tiffany Stoiber/Now Media Group

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HALES CORNERS - Artist MéShelle says that people who have come to visit her new art bar have said that it's "so charming" and "has great ambiance." 

So the name Charmbiance seems to fit the new art bar perfectly.

Charmbiance Art Bar, which opened in Hales Corners on June 10, is a place where visitors can create their own art, like a painted wine glass or decorative sign, while sipping on a cocktail.

"I love, love, love when people walk out of here happy and proud of themselves with their product," MéShelle said.

Charming idea

MéShelle – her artist name that she says she has been using for as long as she can remember – started her art business around 25 years ago. She officially gave her business the name Charmbiance about halfway through that span, and it's now a national brand.

"I came up with (the name) because I designed charms. Everything you purchased from me had charms and beads on it," MéShelle said, explaining how she came to combine "charm" and "ambiance" into the name for her business.

Using her art degree, MéShelle created her own business selling a variety of charming products and later started teaching others how to put their own creativity to work.  

However, after traveling to bars all around the state, and outside of it, to teach classes, MéShelle wanted to be able to house all of her creative endeavors under one roof.

In addition to classes, the art bar houses MéShelle's boutique (which features clothes, jewelry, and other items she has designed) and her graphic design business.

Added charm

She found the perfect place at 11003 W. Forest Home Ave. last October, just minutes from where she grew up and where she now lives in Muskego.

Thanks to lots of help from her parents, husband, and three children, MéShelle transformed the space and gave it a charming ambiance perfect for all the elements of Charmbiance.

"My family, they've all been my rock, that's for sure," MéShelle said. "I couldn't do it without them. They have just been heaven-sent." 

Scattered throughout the art bar, and hung on the walls, are examples of different artistic projects MéShelle has finished or what she teaches others to create.

The store also features a garage door with glass panes, lit up from behind with changing colors, something that her 11-year-old daughter, Elsa, came up with. The garage door sits in a little lounge area, created for when the art bar hosts events such as bridal showers, so people can have a place to sit and visit. (It's also, as Elsa pointed out, the perfect place for her to eat McDonald's.)

Creative classes

At the art bar, MéShelle hosts both private events and open classes, and she's continually adding more and more projects that people can create.  

While she was traveling around to bars for classes, MéShelle said she had to keep the project small, which is why she stuck to cocktail glasses.

However, now that she has more space, she's excited to be able to help her customers create larger works. Already, MéShelle has hosted glass window painting classes and taught how to make outdoor wood décor (using reclaimed wood, like all her wood projects).

She's looking forward to adding other projects, too. MéShelle said she has a ton of ideas and is looking to add holiday wreath classes, canvas painting, wood board painting, and functional wood art for indoor wall décor. 

"And that's just to name a few," she said. "I have more." 

Eventually, she would also like to have guests artists come to teach.

Artistic purpose

For each class, MéShelle says she plays the role of teacher, bartender, and DJ.

Often with the help of her husband, MéShelle crafts custom drinks for classes. Then, she guides her guests through the process of painting on glass, or whatever the project is.  

She also tries to create a relaxing atmosphere, teaching more at the beginning and then letting people relax and work on their projects, though she offers one-on-one help, if needed. 

"When you create art, you truly get some art therapy," she said. "It's relaxing. It lets you forget about your worries for the two hours you’re in my class."  

Naturally, after having been in the art business for 25 years, MéShelle is passionate about what she does. She's also passionate about art being a part of life, which flows into her artistic philosophy. 

"I have two phrases: 'Live art fully,' and 'Life is art, live yours in color,' ” she said. "And when you live art to its fullest, you live a life that’s more whimsical, and fun, and more laid back."

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