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Lauren Smith of The Art Party Place -- Why NEPA? image
April 25, 2023
Lauren Smith of The Art Party Place -- Why NEPA?
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"I love helping kids learn how to be artistic and let their own ideas flow out of them."

Lauren Smith was born to be a party planner. Since her days in elementary school, where she was known to organize and host summer camps at her house for friends, her destiny was calling. It would just take some time to nail down the details.

Growing up in Bloomsburg, her mom and dad owned a small woodshop business. Her dad would build furniture and other things from wood. Her mom would paint them. And little Lauren would help out where needed around the shop and work the register. And an entrepreneur with a DIY spirit was born.

After high school she moved to the Wilkes-Barre area where she attended LCCC and Wilkes, met her now-husband at Smokey Bones, fell in love, got married and began her career in marketing. Soon, she had her first baby and realized working for herself was her dream. And the idea for The Art Party Place was born.

What started as a small gift shop in Mountain Top transformed as they grew and found their niche: throwing art parties in a space that allowed children to express their artistic creativity. Now, with four children, ages 9, 7, 5 and 1.5, Lauren feels as if life has come full circle. With her mom by her side creating the paintings in the studio and hosting many of the birthday parties, her own children are now a part of her small business – helping with set up for events, filling paint cups and preparing for parties. It was in that colorful art studio where she shared her passion for children having access to painting and she answered the most important of questions – Why NEPA?

How long have you lived in NEPA?

My whole life – 35 years.

What do you love about your town?

I love Mountain Top. I just love the small-knit community. I reminds me a lot of Bloomsburg, where I grew up. Everybody knows everybody. You go into stores and you see somebody you know. It’s a very homey, welcome feeling you have, especially with the business owners. I love popping into Pizza Bella, where we get the pizza delivered for the birthday parties and chatting with the owners. It’s just a very nice home feeling.

What’s your favorite NEPA restaurant?

I have two, actually. My husband I go there every anniversary. We’re like that old couple. We love the Powerhouse Eatery. It’s just a really nice, classic restaurant. It has good energy and they serve amazing foods there. The quality of their food is great. I just love it.

And then I also love The Canning House. I love going there with my mom. Actually, the co-owner of The Canning House, Natalie Lynn, went to high school with me in Bloomsburg. I love The Canning House for their uniqueness of the different array of foods that they have. It’s something different. And I love the atmosphere. You can’t go wrong with the atmosphere in there.

What’s your favorite thing to do in NEPA?

I’ve got a lot of different things. I think it changed with having children. Before kids, my husband and I loved St. Paddy’s Day parades (laughs). After kids, you know, in the wintertime we love taking them to Great Wolf Lodge or Kalahari.

We love the change of seasons. In the spring and summertime, all the sporting activities. We just went to our first hockey game which was nice for the kids. My son likes going to the RailRiders. We like to venture out and going hiking and finding different creeks in the area. Like, my kids love finding a creek and just exploring the woods in this area. It’s great. We like to go to Nescopeck State Park. It’s close to us. And all the different trails in there and whatever creek there is, I don’t know which one it is, but they will spend hours just digging through rocks. It’s so fun.

What’s next for you?

What’s next (sigh)? Well, we have contemplated about opening up a second location and/or possibly a bigger location (laughs). I know. I know (laughs)! We say we’re not but then my husband owns Rent the Fun bounce houses, so we’d really like to incorporate both businesses. We’re constantly thinking of new ideas. I always feel like, if you’re not growing, you’re just stagnant. So, I always think it’s good to have different ideas and aspirations. We are open to another location. Bigger location. More fun activities that the whole family can enjoy.

Where do you see NEPA heading in the future?

Well, it’s so funny, because I feel like after Covid, I personally have seen an explosion of businesses open up. There’re so many smaller businesses that have been opening up here and there. And I absolutely love seeing that for this area because sometimes people look down on this area and it’s sad. But I love that this area has so many different things to offer. People just don’t look for it, I feel like. So, I think it’s important to do some Facebook searches and go on DiscoverNEPA and see what’s new. I found so many cool new restaurants and things to do just from your website posts. It’s amazing. I’m like, this is so refreshing to see. So, I definitely see it going up and up. Maybe not as fast as New York City does, but it’s getting there.


I love northeastern PA. One, because of the location. You can literally drive to the beach, New York City, Philly. You’re literally like two hours from everything. Also, you get the change of seasons, which is great. My kids absolutely love the snow. But they absolutely love the change of seasons. I think it’s so refreshing and important just for everybody to get to experience that. There are just so many different things you can do in this area and it has such a home feeling. You can go to the big cities but you can always come back home. It’s like going away to college. It’s nice and comforting when you go back to your home that you grew up in. It’s got a great feel.