ARTS of Cobb directed by Miss LaLa, which offers classes and events in Artistry, Rhythm & Music, Theatre and Special Offerings, has moved to Marietta Square.
This arts center and the whimsical owner Lauren McBride, better known as Miss LaLa, have been a fixture in Marietta since 2005. After starting the preschool music program at McEachern Methodist Preschool and MMO, teaching at First Presbyterian in downtown Marietta and renting smaller studio spaces, now Miss LaLa has moved to her final location.
"This is my last hurrah, but I believe it's going to take off," she said. "I've been following God's will blindly, and I feel that this is my studio's resting place, my last move. I'm home now."
The move to Marietta Square was made for several reasons, including space (size/design/rent), location and clientele.
"I started with 1,200 square feet, and I did everything myself. I was the cleaner, the teacher, everything." Miss LaLa opened her first arts center, Miss LaLa’s Treehouse, which offered music education to toddlers, on Whitlock Avenue in 2006.
After a couple of years, Miss LaLa changed her focus from strictly preschoolers and added more offerings. She relocated to a 2,400 square foot space on Due West Road and changed the name of her business to ARTS @ West Cobb, a collection of art, music and theater classes as well as a gallery.
Two months ago, Miss LaLa moved to the Square under a new name, ARTS of Cobb, with over 5,000 square feet. "This is my year to make this business what I have always dreamt of. This space allows me to do everything I've always wanted to, with pottery, paints, theater, music and open play."
ARTS of Cobb is located behind Blimpie and across from Marietta Pizza Co. To Go. For those who happen to wander in, ARTS of Cobb has a retail section, artwork on display and a walk-in art studio. Open studio for pottery, painting and more is available any time the center is open.
Kids can play or get an art project to do while adults relax with free wifi. "It's the first ever indoor playroom on the Square that I know of," Miss LaLa said, noting that she has lived in the Marietta area her entire life.
Miss LaLa attended Jacksonville University in Florida as an Elementary Music Education major with a focus on voice and clarinet. She has a clear desire to help others learn and develop their passions.
"I love to have people walk in and, if they are shy, to see them evolve, come out of their shell," Miss LaLa said. "I love mentoring artists and taking them out of their comfort zones, helping them to nourish their creativity and passion and to grow."
Miss LaLa noted that she hasn't "taken a paycheck home yet." All the money she has made has gone back into the business so far, but "this is my year to start using the business to help my own family financially, too," she said.
"I love my job," she said. "I never really cared if I made money or not. I do this for the passion, to connect families, and that's what we're really all about. We want people to come experience art, to bring communities together through the arts, to help families nourish their creative passion, whatever that is."
Miss LaLa is passionate about all kinds of art and wants to show that in every aspect of her business. On theater nights, she wants to have someone playing guitar as well as one of her artists at work on the pottery wheel, providing a full artistic experience.
"Whether it's a one time thing or an every day thing, there is some kind of art that touches all of us," Miss LaLa said. "And I want to help people figure out what that is and explore it."
January will bring A Musical Celebration of The Lion King to ARTS of Cobb. Typically each class of varied age groups from 3 years to adults has their own performance. However, with this production all ages will come together for multiple productions of this musical.
Miss LaLa wrote the scripts and will teach the music and choreography. "We had six shows when we did our production of Tangled," she said. "And it was basically the same show but with little differences. Obviously the caliber of a performance goes up with the age, and you see different jokes and dance."
Continuing with her love of mentoring, Miss LaLa's staff of eight is mainly between 17 and 25-years-old. "I love having a younger-aged staff because they are still trying to figure out what they want to do and what they love," she said. "It's so rewarding to be able to help them try to figure that out."
Miss LaLa is also getting involved with charities. Part of her new location is "The Charity Wall," which she intends to use to bring awareness and assistance to four different charities. This effort will collect art supplies as well as money for various organizations.
ARTS of Cobb offers classes for all ages. Artistry offerings include: Brush our Bisque, Throw Pottery, Sculpt Pottery, Drawing, Painting, Glue/Cut Activities, Toddler/Pre-K Drop-off with art, music or drama, beading, private lessons and more. Music education offerings include piano, voice, violin, guitar, brass and show choirs. Theatre classes are available for three year olds to adults. Yoga and pilates are also offered, and zumba may be added this year.
Miss LaLa invites the public to the art center's Free Friday Figure Drawing and Acoustic Instrument Jam, held every other Friday from 9 p.m. to midnight. "These events are BYOB, though coffee, tea, hot chocolate and snacks are available for $1 each that goes towards the charity of your choice from our charity wall," Miss LaLa said.
The S in ARTS of Cobb is for Special Offerings, and Miss LaLa works hard to cater to people's interest at the events she hosts. "We're talking about doing an event with the Wine Market, a kind of dessert and wine dinner-theater," she said. "We've done baby showers, masquerade parties, birthdays, princess and Harry Potter parties, everything."
For more information call 770-425-9660.