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Small Business Spotlight: Bright Brushes

Alerus | JUL 04, 2015

To qualify as an artist, must one be capable of producing timeless masterworks while living in either austerity or indulgence, with no possibility of normalcy? What about those of us who have a creative side and just want to have an outlet for it after work or on weekends? Well, if you live in the Grand Forks area, and you like to paint but realize you might not be the next Picasso or Renoir, check out Bright Brushes, a new business that specializes in painting parties, often with a splash of wine for good measure.

About the Owner

Amanda Rengstorf has loved drawing and painting for as long as she can remember. She grew up drawing pictures for family and friends, and was even able to sell a few early drawings over the years. With such early displays of artistic ability and entrepreneurial spirit, it is perhaps no surprise that Amanda would one day find a way to combine the two.

But before Bright Brushes was even a concept, Amanda studied graphic design and new art media in college. That led to a career in marketing, a job she still holds part time as Bright Brushes grows. Amanda cites her employer’s flexibility in allowing her to stay on part time as one of the keys to making Bright Brushes a success. 

Amanda’s husband, Lucas, has played a major role in getting the company off the ground as well. For Amanda, he is a combination of confidant, co-worker, and advisor, on top of being the love of her life. Lucas had a hand in naming the company, he created its business plan, and he is involved in all the important decisions. “Without his support and advice,” Amanda says, “Bright Brushes would never have been this successful this quickly.”

Amanda’s passion for creativity, combined with the support she receives from family, friends, and her employer, has allowed her to find what she calls a “golden thread” in life – that illusive balance of creative indulgence, economic stability, and the love and support of others. 

About the Company

Bright Brushes specializes in painting and wine parties. Helping people open up and get comfortable with their own creativity is what it’s all about. Amanda says that many, if not most, of the people who attend painting parties are nervous and think they won’t be able to paint anything. But, after a couple of hours of instruction in a fun environment, they surprise themselves with how great their paintings turn out. Amanda’s goal is to hear people say “I can’t believe I created this!”

Amanda started Bright Brushes as a hobby, but it grew quickly and is now a business that serves people in Grand Forks and surrounding communities up to two hours away, both in North Dakota and Minnesota. 

Two Types of Paint Parties

There are two types of painting parties available. Public parties are held at local restaurants and bars. The restaurants pick a night to host, often using a party as a way to bring in business on what would otherwise be a slow night – it’s a win-win for the host and for Bright Brushes.

Private parties can be booked as well. They are great alternatives to a regular dinner party. You can host a party at a location of your choice, including your home. Your group gets to pick which painting to work on, and paint, aprons, canvas and other needed materials are provided.

Whether public or private, paint parties from Bright Brushes are great for a night out with friends, bachelorette parties, date nights, birthday parties, baby showers, corporate team building, church groups, and many other occasions.

About the Alerus Relationship

Amanda became an Alerus customer, simply put, because of Mike Helt, a relationship banker in Grand Forks. The two knew each other through their involvement in Greater Grand Forks Young Professionals. “Mike focuses more on the relationship with me as a person, as opposed to just doing business,” Amanda says. “But when we do talk about Bright Brushes, he treats it like a major corporation, giving it all of his attention. As a fairly new Alerus customer, it is great that I feel like I am a person and mean just as much as anyone else who banks there, no matter the size of my business.”

Ready for a Painting Party?

If you would like to attend a public painting party or want to schedule a private one, simply visit the Bright Brushes website or give Amanda Rengstorf a call at 218.791.3443. You can also check out the Bright Brushes Facebook page to see more pictures from past parties and info on upcoming events.

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