Wherehouse Studio is a broad creative arts school - without walls



“What I want to bring to people is something fun, a way for them to get in touch with their creativity. I believe that we all have creativity and can use it to make a better life. Why don’t we make something, have some kind of output instead of everything always incoming?” says Martha Treat Colburn.

What she is talking about is her new enterprise, cleverly called Wherehouse Studios, where she facilitates classes in various kinds of creativity without having a dedicated space of her own.

Originally a native of Muskegon, Colburn went to the State University of New York at Binghamton to receive a degree in medieval history, which she admits was not the most practical field.

She married there, then pursued a  career in retail, much of it on the East Coast, including moving up in a wonderful store called The Enchanted Village, started by a child psychologist.

She returned to Muskegon to care for her aging parents; divorced and with her career just having turned “less wonderful,” she missed Lake Michigan and this area more than she’d realized.

Her mother died a few years later, but she took care of her father, a beloved pastor in Lakeside for many years. She turned her retail sales aptitude toward the insurance industry, but continued to work a variety of jobs which gave her broad experience.

She worked, including event planning, at the Muskegon Museum of Art where her boyfriend, Lee Brown, is the preparator, so she found herself having a lot of friends who are artists.

Not an artist herself but always understanding that she is a highly creative person, Colburn began to look at what might be her dream job. Her thoughts went to a study she’d done years ago of the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, which opens up people’s creativity through spirituality and exercises. 

“I thought, what about if we could do classes at cool places all around town, with people who are well-known experts and would act as a draw,” Colburn says. “I can’t teach them but I can make them happen. I know how to do that.”

Wherehouse Studio was born. In addition to studying The Artist’s Way at Hackley Library, she has sponsored classes by Tanya Tice in liquid flow artistry at Lakeshore School of the Arts, Lampwork Beads with Brown at the same place, and Basic Drawing-Shading with Acrylic Wash with Jon Workman at City Center for the Arts. Branching out in terms of discipline, she is currently sponsoring a two-part memoir-writing class, “What’s Your Story?” taught by former Chronicle writer Susan Harrison at The Coffee Factory.

But there is much more in store for the future. The best source to find out what that will be is the Wherehouse Studio facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/pg/wherehousestudioMI/events/


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