Photo by Graham Tolbert

Photo by Graham Tolbert


Lauren moved into the Northrup King Building August of 2018 with her business An Upcycled Closet. She knew she was lucky to land a spot in the second-floor wing because it’s littered with rad artist ladies and creative makers and shakers. She was in good company.

 So what does any 21st century gal do? Takes her grandmother’s Longaberger picnic basket filled with baked goods to her neighbors. One such neighbor, Ashley Mary, was thankfully working on her magical paintings that day and got to be the recipient of these treats. Thus, the crux of Ashley and Lauren’s friendship formed: pastries. Once Lauren left the room, Ashley didn’t waste a minute slathering almond butter and stuffing her face with zucchini bread. Snacks are the foundation of this friendship and we hope to pass that value unto Curiosity Studios.

At the time, Ashley was working on finishing her Masters in Graphic Design with a project that included developing curriculum for artists centered around the concept of play, a way to help folks get “unstuck” creatively. Meanwhile Lauren’s art therapy practice revolved around similar themes: using art as a process to uncover and give language to our emotions. When working on installing one of Ashley’s murals together, they realized this shared passion and by January 2019, were deep-diving into making something real out of this initial idea, as well as deep-diving into more snacks, duh.

Lauren and Ashley recognize that the creative process isn’t always easy. The product that is often the recipient of praise and recognition is just a fraction of why art making can be rewarding. The creative process is inherently therapeutic and touches on matters that exist inside of ourselves. If we only focus on the outside (the product) we miss the good stuff inside. We can’t wait to share with you all of the ways we prioritize the “inside” and as a result change the way you make and think about art. Our goal for the classes we teach is that you walk away with tools that help you grow: not only in your creative process but as a human.

Our friendship is the core of who we are. It’s a non-negotiable and we laugh at our jokes more than any of you will. We believe at the root of creating is healthy relationships that inspire. We hope you find the same things in Curiosity Studios: friendship, inspiration, play, and snacks.

Photo by Graham Tolbert

Photo by Graham Tolbert

Ashley Mary

Co-Founder + Creative Director

  Ashley is an painter, muralist, and designer with a Masters in Web and Graphic Design from MCAD and a major in Religion. She has worked with national and international clients to bring a little messy rainbow to their brands, products and walls. When not painting, Ashley spends time on her own line of products and collaborations.

Within Curiosity Studio, Ashley focuses on all things brand identity, product, content development, instructing and her spiritual gift of making a mess.

She also eats our snacks.

Photo by Graham Tolbert

Photo by Graham Tolbert

Lauren Callis Erickson

Co-Founder + Executive Director

Lauren is trained in the disciplines of painting and fiber arts.  Lauren received a degree from UW-Superior and masters of Art Therapy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. While practicing art therapy, she started a small business, An Upcycled Closet, to encourage a circular economy and minimize the impact of textile waste on our planet. Lauren refuses to pick a lane and generally gets distracted by her curiosities.

In Curiosity Studio, Lauren builds relationships, writes curriculum, manages our space, community partnerships, sustainability advocacy, instructs; all that and the kitchen sink.

She also makes us snacks.