Ready, Paint, Fire! is closing its doors

Ready Paint Fire! set up outdoor painting areas this summer amid COVID-19 restrictions. As winter approaches and indoor capacity limits remain in place, owner Bethany Smith has decided to close the studio.
Photo from Bethany Smith

BRECKENRIDGE — Breckenridge’s Ready, Paint, Fire! is shutting its doors after a decade of bringing art in the form of pottery and painting to the community. Owner Bethany Smith said that square footage is a problem for the studio as COVID-19 restrictions leave the place with only about eight people allowed at a time inside, which Smith said will not pay the bills to keep the Main Street studio open this winter. 

Ready, Paint, Fire! operated over the summer and got creative with outdoor classes, but Smith said the studio is just barely breaking even and operating under the difficult circumstances of rigorous cleaning and other coronavirus protocols. Smith said her family lives just above the studio and has a young child who she wants to keep safe. The family plans to hunker down in their home in Rollinsville.

“We need to just be safe and healthy as a family and hunker down, we’ve got young people, we’ve got grandparents,” Smith said.

Smith explained that her business model is essentially shot due to the restrictions, as typically the studio operates on a high volume, low profit margin basis. As Smith works in the studio for 10-12 hours a day, she said the likelihood that she would catch the virus is too high of a risk and that if the studio will likely only break even at best, she’d rather spend the time with her family.  

Smith took over the space in 2010, which used to be a pottery studio, and added canvas painting, mosaic glass work and glass fusing. Over the past decade, Smith and her family have worked to expand what they offered, which she said was the first step in getting people to come in and try new things, making a name for the studio particularly with the canvas painting parties.

Ready, Paint, Fire! has worked with local schools, hosted its popular “canvas uncorked” classes at Warren Station, put on glass fusing workshops and ornament painting parties for the holidays and even hosted Zoom classes during quarantine with Summit Advocates for Victims of Assault. Ready, Paint, Fire! also opened a second location in Keystone for about five years, which recently closed down.

“It’s been an amazing throwdown of art and fun and a great time and I’ve loved every minute of it and it’s a shame it’s coming to an end but I can’t do much about COVID and I certainly can’t do much about how expensive rent is on Main Street Breckenridge,” Smith said. 

Smith said it has been an amazing decade and that she has nothing but gratitude for the time she’s had in Breckenridge and the people her studio has entertained, adding that she knows it will be a loss for the community for the studio to close down. Smith said she hopes her family can come back and start up the studio again in the future. She said that once COVID-19 is more under control and there is a vaccine or cure it may be more feasible for her studio to operate. 

While the studio closed on Aug. 16, Ready, Paint, Fire! is having a final Labor Day Sale over the weekend from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5, through Monday, Sept. 7, that Smith hopes will be a good time for the community to stop by and say farewell. 

Becca Arthur, a Breckenridge resident and longtime customer of Ready, Paint, Fire! said during a phone call with the Summit Daily that Smith has always made accommodations for people from all over the world and with all kinds of abilities. Arthur said she has been bringing her two children to the studio for years for birthday parties and for a regular fun activity.

“She’s brought so much joy and light to the community and when they opened up over in Keystone, they brought a new resurgence of art and family product to the Keystone area,” Arthur said.

Arthur later added in a text message that Smith is a prolific artist in her own right and has donated supplies to preschoolers and taught locals to enjoy and create art. She called the studio’s closure the “end of an era.”

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