November 19, 2017
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  • Katie Detrich (left) – with daughters Madilyn and Lilian, and friend Alyssa Williams – are excited for the three-day grand opening of Welcome to Neverland School of Imagination from October 27-29.
    Photo by Zach Sparks
    Katie Detrich (left) – with daughters Madilyn and Lilian, and friend Alyssa Williams – are excited for the three-day grand opening of Welcome to Neverland School of Imagination from October 27-29.

Families Find Fountain Of Youth At Welcome To Neverland School Of Imagination

Zach Sparks
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October 19, 2017

For three years, Welcome to Neverland owner Katie Detrich scrawled activity ideas in a notepad, hoping to one day open a brick-and-mortar location for her renowned party-themed business. In August 2017, the multitalented artist, storyteller and musician finally found her ideal space at 39 Maryland Avenue in Annapolis, putting those ideas into action at Welcome to Neverland School of Imagination.

“I originally was going to open a place in Pasadena, but I had a hard time finding a place that was appropriate for what I wanted to do,” Detrich said. “It’s cool here because the vibe is awesome and it’s safe for children.

“We can fit about 20 painters in here,” she added. “I wanted to keep it roomy and all white so that the attention goes more to the artwork and not the building.”

Formerly occupied by La Petite Galerie, the space has allowed the Pasadena entrepreneur to expand her business and offer more hands-on opportunities, whether she’s hosting kids birthday parties or teaching classes for adults or children.

Allowing adults to indulge in some childlike creativity, she recently had visitors finger-paint scenes from Disney’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” She also plans to offer toddler classes that develop motor skills, but her biggest passion is working with children.

Youth who visit Welcome to Neverland School of Imagination can paint inside or from the backyard garden surrounded by picturesque downtown Annapolis, watch puppet theater, obtain balloon sculptures and dabble in all things whimsical.

“I dress up like a fairy, so there are different types of parties; we’ll make fairy houses or gnome houses,” said Detrich, who also entertains her own daughters, Madilyn and Lilian. “I might do something like a clown academy where they will learn balloon animals and face painting.”

At Welcome to Neverland School of Imagination, Detrich welcomes any celebration: private company parties, Christmas gatherings, bachelorette parties, and even baby showers. “Each person could make a painting, so they would have a collage of little paintings that would go above the crib,” Detrich said, brainstorming more thoughts. “Everyone would contribute.”

The more people Detrich is able to reach with art, the better, which is why she is hosting a three-day grand opening from October 27 through 29. The weekend is booked with engaging activities: acoustic music by Anthony Frijia and Pressing Strings frontman Jordan Sokel, face painting, adults-only painting on pallets and bushel lids, costume contests and a visit by Part-Time Princesses. Throughout the event, catering will be handled by different restaurants, from the Greene Turtle and Chick-fil-A – which are both bringing their mascots – to Ledo Pizza and Joss Café and Sushi Bar. Great Frogs Winery will have wine tasting, and guests can sample brews made by Capital Teas.

Children will get a free copy of Detrich’s first children’s book, “Princess or President?” Published in 2013, the tale is about a unicorn that convinces a hippo to be a president instead of a princess. Detrich will also give away art, but she encourages people to register soon. Space is limited to 20 children or 15 adults per time session. Adults 21 and over can bring their own beverages.

Grand opening times are Friday from 6:00pm to 8:00pm, Saturday from 1:00pm to 3:00pm and 5:00pm to 8:00pm, and Sunday from noon to 3:00pm and 5:00pm to 8:00pm. In between those times, Detrich will hold art classes. To get tickets for those art classes or for more information on the grand opening, go to www.eventbrite.com and search for “Grand Opening Weekend at Welcome to Neverland School of Imagination!”

Events at Welcome to Neverland are by appointment only. To learn more, contact Detrich at 247paint@gmail.com or 443-690-2437, or visit www.neverlandparty.com.

As far as that notebook stockpiled with ideas, Detrich is still pondering the merits of ideas like soap-making classes, summer camps and a class called the Art of Letting Go. “It’s a meditation-like learning class with ways to let go of stress, because that’s what painting is, art therapy,” she said.

At Detrich’s new location, the possibilities are limited only by the imagination.


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