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Board & Brush

Everyone has the DNA to be creative. Maybe not a renowned oil painter or world-class pianist, but we all can be creative. There is an easy way to be creative—I'm talking about a DIY art experience of sign painting. Engaging in any artistic painting can be a meditative experience, offering a break from the rush of daily life. The rhythmic brushstrokes of any art can be remarkably calming, providing a therapeutic outlet for stress relief.

If you haven't tried it, DIY sign painting offers a delightful blend of creativity and simplicity, making it an accessible and rewarding experience for beginners and seasoned artists. Witnessing a blank wooden board transform into a beautifully crafted sign, personalized to one's taste, instills a feeling of pride and satisfaction.

One of the beauties of sign painting is its minimalistic material requirements. Essential items like wooden boards, paintbrushes, acrylic or chalk paints, stencils (if preferred), and a protective sealant are all that’s needed. These materials are easy to find at local craft stores or online, making the endeavor quite accessible. But, we have discovered a place that makes it easier and offers unlimited possibilities and loads of fun.

Recently, we met up with the Pied Piper of the easy art-fix at Board & Brush in Cape to fill us in on how everyone can be a creative artist for a day. Meet Brittney Swicionis, Owner of Board & Brush Creative Studio—our latest 573 Superhero.  

573 Superhero Brittney Swicionis, Owner of Board & Brush Creative Studio.

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This Story is sponsored in part by Visit Cape!

My name is Brittney Swicionis. I am 29 and grew up in a two-parent household (John & Deanna Swicionis) with one sister (Rachel Swicionis). My mom is a paraprofessional and has embarked on a new journey with getting her master's degree to be an elementary school teacher. My dad has been a business owner of a home remodeling and handyman service for 20+ years. My sister is a grower in horticulture for a greenhouse in St. Louis.

I am from the South Side of Chicago and moved to Cape Girardeau in 2014. In 2017, I graduated from SEMO with a bachelor's in Health Management: Exercise Science with a double minor in Sport Management and Dance. Shortly after, I accepted a graduate assistantship with Rec Services at SEMO in Fitness and wellness while pursuing my master's in Higher Education Leadership, emphasizing College Athletics and Sport Management. In 2019, I graduated with my master's and found myself on the job hunt. I did not have to go far and accepted a full-time position with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern MO (BBBSEMO) as the Coordinator of ABCToday. During graduate school, I worked part-time for BBBSEMO for two years as a Mentoring Manager, working with littles, bigs, and families matched in our mentoring program. 

In addition to owning and running Board & Brush, I continue to work full-time for BBBSEMO as the Associate Regional Director of ABCToday Networks, and I am an adjunct instructor at SEMO and a certified personal trainer + group fitness instructor for Cape Girardeau City.

In 2022, I married my husband, Tony Bono. We have been together for nine years! He and I met at SEMO during 2014 at Homecoming, and now Homecoming is an actual holiday in our household. Tony is a Special Education Teacher with the Jackson R-II School District. You can often find him and me at local sporting events, watching comedy shows, grabbing delicious pizza, or volunteering in the community. We truly love our life and time in Cape Girardeau and are thrilled to have this as our home. Tony is truly my 'rock' and pushes me to be the best version of myself and helps me think differently about how Board & Brush (B&B) can operate and be a community-focused business.

Being a business owner is in my blood. I watched my parents handle and overcome the challenges of having a business for most of my life. Still, I never thought that this was something that I would have ended up doing. 

There are HUNDREDS of projects to choose from...

In January 2020, the former owner of B&B contacted me asking if I'd be interested in purchasing the Cape Girardeau location. I had started working for her the summer prior and was looking for a side hustle. She and I sat down, and shortly after, I began purchasing the Cape Girardeau location. I was 25 at the time. There was some hesitation in buying this business during all of that unknown, but I kept details on the 'down low' because I did not want friends/family to feel that they had to 'fund' this journey of mine when everyone had to make choices. I kept it a secret for about 8-9 months before I started to share and be more visible on social media as an owner. 

I look back on my journey and have zero regrets about buying the business or how I approached things. Since many people did not know I was the owner, I could really hear and see people's experiences at Board & Brush and improve them for the better. A lot of time, consistency, and hiring the right people has allowed us to be successful and a driving force in this community. 

When customers hear or think of Board & Brush, we hope they think of our unique experience. We are very proud of the knowledge that people can embark on when visiting our studio. They will choose a project from our gallery of images. There are HUNDREDS of projects to choose from and many projects that allow personalization (names, dates, etc.)! What separates our experience from any other experience is that you can choose a porch sign to create, and your friend/family member can choose a clock or holiday decor to create. Everyone gets a personalized experience.

Our Board & Brush team members facilitate the entire workshop experience for guests by prompting each step and assisting customers in their DIY journey so they leave with a project they are proud of and excited to display or give as a gift. 

Our Board & Brush team members facilitate the entire workshop experience for guests by prompting each step and assisting customers...

Customers choose all their stains and paint colors during their workshop experience. We want our customers to choose what matches their style, home decor, or vision. Our team is there to guide customers during each step! Our studio has state, city, and county liquor licenses for Sip & Paint parties.  

Our studio has state, city, and county liquor licenses for Sip & Paint parties.

We host about 2-3 public workshops a week and then fill in with private workshops. Our bread & butter workshop format is our most popular, called Pick Your Project workshops. In addition, we have LOTS of specialty workshops and our newest program type, Board & Brush Brought to You, which brings a similar experience off-site to businesses and organizations. Every occasion or celebration can happen at Board & Brush.

Ok, there's your dog whistle to GET OUT THERE! Go do some painting. Take a winter hike. Call an old friend. Take a class. Go to a new place to eat. Do something. Do anything. Your time is running out for this life. Use what you have left. I command you!

Words & pics by the Supreme Leader of 573 Magazine and other cool stuff.

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