a peek inside the fishbowl

22 Nov, 2010

Welcome to a new patron! (4Cats in the Fishbowl!)

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Fishbowl patrons

I’d like to take a moment to welcome the latest Fishbowl patron: 4Cats Arts Studio. I am really thrilled that 4Cats has come on board.

4Cats is an art studio for kids located in the neighbourhood of Hintonburg – just slightly east of where I am in Westboro. They’re all about (1) fun art instruction and (2) really awesome birthday parties.

Here is a peek at some of the student art inside:

I’ve been to 4Cats before. I wrote a piece about them for SavvyMom some time ago, and I was able to sit down with the owner, Emaly, for a good while and learn about her philosophy on kids and art and the joy of creating things of our very own.

Regular readers will already know how excited about I am about this kind of thing. Art is important. Getting kids creating things is good for their brains and their development in so many ways… and we don’t even know the half of it.

To summarize: Art is good.

I was invited to attend a special momblogger night at 4Cats on Friday night, the goal of which was to introduce a bunch of us to the studio and the beauty that is Splattering Things With Paint.

Oh my. It is fun. There’s a special room that is set aside just for splatter painting. You mix your paints, grab some brushes, and let loose. Scrap paper hangs on the wall, and once you feel like you have a good handle on things you proceed to decorating your canvas.

There’s even a safety zone, so parents can watch their kids go at it – and not get splashed – :

I haven’t even mentioned the balloon splattering part, or the syringe-full-of-paint part. It is super. You will have to take my word for it.

Can you imagine doing this for a birthday party? The birthday boy or girl get a huge canvas that everyone works on co-operatively à la Jackson Pollock (hopefully without the alcohol and cigarettes) and the attendees get smaller ones to bring home. WOW.

One of the most interesting things on Friday was seeing what the other ladies created. What colours did they choose? Did they use a lot of paint or just a little? Was their fear in their hearts or did they just give ‘er?

I’m sure Emaly has seen it all and has drawn her own conclusions about our various foibles.

I’ve thought about it a lot since Friday, and you know what, never before have I had the opportunity to splatter paint around like that, so so so, MESSILY. It felt great to be able to let go of what is “right,” of what is “pretty,” of what is “tidy,” of what is “art.”

Emaly is a real find. It’s clear she’s passionate about kids and art. She’s extremely knowledgeable and smiles a twinkly smile when describing her many different classes, workshops, and teaching art to kids as young as two. TWO! Somehow the 4Cats concept makes art – which can be so snobby and stuffy and unapproachable – into something that is totally accessible, delightful, and confidence-building… for people of all ages. And that’s not an easy task.

I recommend looking into the upcoming December workshops. They’re priced just right, and perfect for dropping your kids off to do something creative (or make something for grandma and grandpa!) while you skip away for a quiet coffee and a shop in the ‘hood.

Thanks again to Emaly and 4Cats, for bringing colour into our lives!

ETA: 4Cats has a great coupon on LivingSocial today. I bought a voucher for a 90-minute art class for $9. It’s a 55% savings. This offer is only available TODAY. Not only is it a great deal (!) but if three of my friends buy today’s deal by clicking this link, I get mine for free.

Print this post Print this post

9 Responses to "Welcome to a new patron! (4Cats in the Fishbowl!)"

1 | Valerie

November 22nd, 2010 at 11:22 am


sounds like fun! I went through the link on your FB page – hope that counts for your 3 (not that I think you’ll have any trouble getting them – it’s a great deal). Thanks!

2 | meanie

November 22nd, 2010 at 12:29 pm


I just bought two classes :)

3 | allison

November 22nd, 2010 at 2:53 pm


me too (three). We’ve been looking for something like this since A Fine Mess closed.

4 | bushidoka

November 23rd, 2010 at 9:18 am


A message to send back to them – their stuff looks great but they seem to offer an awful lot of their workshops during school hours. Just who are they expecting to come in for them? We’ve got a guy having a birthday this week and see some workshops that look like they’d be great for a birthday party, but alas, they are in the middle of the day.

I know I could probably book the place for a full blown birthday bash but even when I’m employed we don’t do the big birthdays with more “friends” than any child that age could possibly have. We always do something with just 1 or 2 of their friends.

Anyway, I wish them luck. I know we’ll be there more once I’m employed.

5 | andrea

November 27th, 2010 at 12:50 pm


Well, kids go to school at different hours – especially kinder kids, right? Those workshops are perfect for that age. I think the folks at 4Cats are probably tweaking their schedules too, and seeing what works best. I think if they knew there were a lot of people looking for something to fill those after-school hours they’d definitely add something to accommodate!

6 | andrea

November 27th, 2010 at 12:51 pm


Thanks to all who bought into the coupon too! I’ve already booked a class and am really looking forward to seeing the results. (And maybe some new art for the office??) :)

7 | A quick poll and short update >> a peek inside the fishbowl

December 10th, 2010 at 10:22 am


[...] pudding.” Day 9 – Sarah had an art class at 4Cats Arts Studio, which I first wrote about here. (It was amazing. Here’s what she created!) and we attended a fundraising party at [...]

8 | Ottawa Giveaway alert: an art experience at 4Cats >> a peek inside the fishbowl

March 20th, 2011 at 1:15 pm


[...] patron 4Cats Arts Studio is behind this amazing giveaway. I’ve written about 4Cats before. They are a very fun art studio for kids, and host really interesting and creative art camps and [...]

9 | Ottawa giveaway from 4Cats Arts Studio! >> a peek inside the fishbowl

August 24th, 2012 at 1:52 pm


[...] written about Fishbowl patron 4Cats Arts Studio a few times before. If you haven’t heard, 4Cats is an amazing art studio [...]

comment form:


NAC Ottawa family events

Saunders Farm annual passes for family fun!

Animal Inside Out BodyWorlds, Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa

Mrs Tiggywinkle's - the best toy store in Ottawa

Joan of Arc Academy in Ottawa

Click me!


Stay in touch

Me and my pet projects


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • HollyStar: I have a few bags of clothes in my van to drop off to Youville - just waiting to get to the east end. Amazing organization with incredible people. Can
  • Meg: I rode 100km on an antique norco step-through 5 speed ladies bike - in one day. It was totally fine. I didn't train, I just rode my bike because it wa
  • Sarah: It's garage sale season. You can maybe get cheap panniers at one of those. We did. What about renting or borrowing a bike for your trek to Carleton Pl
  • Misty Pratt: (also, some great twitter bike community by using hashtag #Ottbike. Lots of people answered my question when I asked what bike I should get for my 25k
  • Misty Pratt: Ya, I would think 100K would be uncomfortable on the upright bike :) For longer distances people usually recommend a road bike with drop handles. That
  • Brenda A: Lucky you to see water at the waterfall! We have struck out many times!
  • Ovenbird: Gatineau Park is such an amazing place. So wild, so close. The songbirds are back...and they're loud and clear. The health benefit research is in

The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (15) and Sarah (13). I am the editor of the Kitchissippi Times and a regular contributor to MediaSmarts.ca. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

If you'd like to contact me, please use this form. If you're so inclined, you can read more about me here. Thank you for visiting!


My right hand is actually a camera

Connect with me at these places too!

The #dailylunches project – 1000 lunches and counting

Every day I eat lunch and take a picture. Here's the latest:

Created with flickr badge.

Click the photo for details: what it is, where I ate it (if it's worth a mention!) and how to cook it (if there happens to be a recipe). You can also read more about this project right here.


  • So I was feeling a bit ranty and wrote this post about raising children in an age of zero privacy in the hopes it will start some conversations! Please leave your two cents right here.

    - #
  • My latest post on the MediaSmarts website is up, and it's about family social media accounts. (Yes! It's a thing! And I think it's pretty neat.) Is this something you do as a family? I'd love it if you left your two cents on the topic.

    - #
  • I'm sharing some of my favourite lunch-related items over on the terra20 blog today. Whether you're packing a lunch for work, for your kids, or just eating at your desk at home, I bet there is something there for you. Check it out!

    - #

On the nightstand

... check out past nightstand reads right here.

All hail the mighty Twitter