What once was a vision is now becoming a reality for Art Park owners Charles Baughman and Kate Pepper.
The husband and wife started the business more than eight years ago at the former St. Alban’s Episcopal Church site on East 29th Street between Woodlawn and Rock Road. Their idea was to have a campus of buildings with businesses geared toward family, child and adult enrichment.
“We have always had this vision in mind,” Pepper says.
She and Baughman are now expanding their campus to include a third building, which will be 10,000 square feet and hold several new businesses geared toward children.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
“It really makes sense if all these children’s businesses are in one place,” Pepper says. “None of us are competitors against each other, but we’re all fighting for the same hours a day.”
She says having everything in one place makes it convenient for children to attend multiple things or for siblings to be dropped off and picked up at the same time.
Child-geared businesses already in the Art Park’s first two buildings include Music Together of Wichita and Pepper and Baughman’s Monart School of Art.
New ones will include Air House Music Academy, the Bug Lady’s Science Academy, Musictorium and My Gym.
David Lord’s first Air House, which offers individual and ensemble lessons for most major instruments, is at 109 S. Ridge Road.
Lord says the second Air House “kind of completes our business.”
That’s because the Art Park space will allow for a venue.
“We’ll be able to have concerts there,” Lord says. “It’ll be a great recital space, which we haven’t had up till now.”
He says it’s “also a chance to be a part of such an amazing center.”
“It just seemed like a wonderful chance to be involved with … all those different businesses,” Lord says. “Kate and Charles’ vision for the place is just beautiful and very exciting for what can happen over there.”
Carrie Tiemeyer, who is better known as the Bug Lady, agrees.
“I didn’t really understand what (the) campus was all about,” she says.
When she learned, Tiemeyer says, “I said, ‘Oh, my gosh, I would love to come over here.’”
So she’s moving her business from its current space near near 33rd Street and Ridge Road.
“As a teacher, you like to have feedback from other people,” Tiemeyer says. “It’s great energy there.”
She says she maintains 150 animals, which Tiemeyer says she uses to help children learn through classes and have fun through parties. The new space will give her more room thanks to an outdoor area.
Tiemeyer is going to expand with a science-based preschool in the Art Park as well.
Also, she and Lord are working together to open Musictorium, which will be about helping children learn the science behind music.
“We’re going to teach kids how to hear and tune and make sounds that aren’t typical,” Tiemeyer says.
That could be composing music through the 200 different sounds a bicycle can make or creating a saxophone from PVC pipe.
“They’re going to be able to take common, everyday items and be able to make music,” Tiemeyer says. “Not horrible screeching sounds, but an actual musical note.”
For now, Musictorium will be in the Bug Lady space. Tiemeyer says enrollment is starting for January classes. The Bug Lady move should happen in early November. Air House is opening in one of the Art Park’s existing buildings, so it will be ready to go in September.
Like the Bug Lady and Musictorium, My Gym also will be opening in the Art Park’s new building.
The 7-year-old business, which is a children’s fitness center, currently is in Cambridge Market at 21st and Webb. Owner Ji-Youn Sousa says that has been a fine location, but she sees more appeal for her business at the Art Park.
“We just think it’s time to be in an environment where it’s more conducive to our business and the target audience, which is families and children,” she says. “That synergy is going to work really well for the families (and) for the business.”
Pepper says she’s also working on leases at the new building for a potential tutoring business and a karate studio. She has about 2,000 square feet left to lease.
There are some things geared to adults at the Art Park as well, including a couple of massage businesses and Yoga For You, which also has classes for children.
Sousa says the Art Park and its expanding campus is “just a great concept all around.”