NILES, Ohio – Timothy Milliner always had an interest in art. But had someone told him where he would end up age 25, he says he would have questioned that person’s sanity.
Several years ago, Milliner began working in Party Art Café & Studio, then in Howland, teaching customers how to sketch and handling party bookings.
Working there more than four years, Milliner learned everything about the job and assumed a role similar to a management position.
“I really didn’t have an official background,” he says. “I had a semester of graphic design. Then I moved to video game design and then I moved to music production. I have always done drawing and I have always done digital work. But I only really started painting when I was working for them.”
When the owners decided to give up the business, Milliner found himself with an unusual opportunity. In July 2018, he reopened the business at 506 N. Main St. in Niles, and assumed ownership.
It took him about two years to really understand how to run a business, Milliner says, but the opportunity has fulfilled him.
While his store has many of the same features of its predecessor, Milliner says he aimed to create a more relaxing and inviting atmosphere.
“You can come in and chose a canvas or ceramic,” he says. “You can choose pretty much how you want to paint and I show you step by step how to do that.”
A variety of events is available as well, both in and outside the studio. Milliner says he also works with local community groups.
“I have done a movie party where we did a painting based off of a movie,” he says. “They can book these or I also have a list of things people can choose from. Glow-in-the-dark cosmic paint parties at night also are available – there’s so many options.”
Milliner says his audience ranges from young children to adults in their 80s. He hosts art camps for children and video game tournaments, which, he says, pull in a large audience of men.
As for what the future holds, Milliner plans to buy the building he rents and to expand his studio.
As the sole employee, Milliner says he may also train some new staff.
“I always have plans,” he says. “I always am ready to take it to the next level.”
Pictured at top: Timothy Milliner took a job at Party Art Café and ended up buying the company.