The Shine Studio will Help Kids Find Their Natural Talents

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The Shine Studios proprietor Aaron Goldschmidt, photographed at the new facility in Bridgehampton on December 7, 2021.

When he was a child, Aaron Goldschmidt was not the shy and retiring type. He describes himself as gregarious, saying he was the kind of kid who relished being the center of attention. As he grew into adulthood, that core aspect of his personality did not change, but he came to realize that not every child is naturally outgoing, or feels immediately comfortable being themselves in a large group of people. He also settled on the firm belief that that fact shouldn’t mean only some kids get to realize their full potential — and he’s put that belief at the core of his mission for Shine, the business he created in 2004 that offers pop-up classes, parties and camps for kids.

For most of its existence, Shine has been a mobile business, bringing its offerings to private homes and other locations in both New York City and on the East End. But over the last year, Goldschmidt has set down roots in Sag Harbor, giving Shine its first official home base, The Shine Studio, on the Sag Harbor/Bridgehampton Turnpike in the building that formerly was home to the Rainbow Preschool. The Shine Studio’s offerings cover a wide range of interests, from music and cooking to art, science, nature and movement, with programming available for children ages six months to 12 years. The space, which is on the lower level of the Unitaraian Universalists meetinghouse, includes three large studios and a cafe, and outdoors there is a stage, an outdoor classroom, and immediate access to nature trails. The Shine Studio is also home to Our Fabulous Variety Show (OFVS) the non-profit theater, dance and performance company owned by Anita Boyer and Kasia Klimiuk. OFVS is the first “artist-in-residence” at The Shine Studio, and Goldschmidt hopes to offer similar opportunities to other creative-based businesses in the future.

While The Shine Studio won’t officially open until mid-January, it is already open and offering programs like a holiday break camp for kids, which is running from December 20 until December 31, for children ages 2 to 11. Goldschmidt said he’s excited to have a headquarters after so many years of being on the road, and is excited to expand his mission.

“When I first started working with kids, it was so clear to me the light that kids have,” he said in an interview earlier this month. “It’s so intense, and I love it. I believe every child has a light in them, but not all kids shine in the same way and need the same thing. That’s what makes us special; we get to know each and every kid, and we really figure out what their light is and how we can help them shine.”

Goldschmidt has the kind of resume that makes him a natural fit for his line of work. He earned his BFA in acting from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and minored in child psychology. He worked at several prominent private preschools in New York City, teaching and developing curriculum. He has called upon that experience and skill in creating The Shine Studio, and says he’s also dedicated to bringing in other artists and individuals with a wide range of creative talents to offer unique experiences.

The Shine Studio will still offer the mobile birthday parties and pop-up experiences it has become known for, but having its first official home base can lead to new opportunities, Goldschmidt said, adding he’s hoping to become a vital resource for parents in the community, especially as it has experienced population growth due to COVID-19, and thus more parents seeking enriching, high quality programming for their children.

“A lot of kids didn’t get a spot in the Green School or some other programs in the area that have been popular for two- and three-year-olds,” he said, adding that while The Shine Studio is not a preschool, it can provide a lot of what parents are looking for when they seek to introduce their young children to a social environment. He offers a program called “Little Luminaries,” which Goldschmidt described as a “preschool alternative program.” He’s planning on launching that program at the time of The Shine Studio’s official grand opening, set for January 24. Parents who enroll their children in that program can drop them off for a few hours two or three days weekly.

In addition to the Little Luminaries program, The Shine Studio will also offer other themed classes, including Block Party, a constructive arts and building class, and Globe Trekkers, a class where children are introduced to cultures and customs from around the world. The Shine Studio will also offer a class for children ages 16 months to 24 months, where they can attend with a caregiver for 70 minutes of lightly structured play and sensory art.

After-school programming will include several offerings, tailored by age level, and Goldschmidt hopes to bring in local artists to conduct workshops. Weekend camps will also be offered, giving parents a few hours to get things done or take a break.

Goldschmidt is enthusiastic about the future, and said he hopes that The Shine Studio can “become a real part of the fabric of the community.” He said he is always looking to hire new staff, and wants the studio to exist as a “collaborative space,” where local artists and artisans can share their skills and passion with the next generation.

The Shine Studio is located on the lower level of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the South Fork Meetinghouse, 977 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton. For information, visit shinenyc.net.

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