10 Creative Modalities to Explore on the Seacoast


One of the greatest benefits of parenthood is that children help us reconnect with joy in a way that most adults grow distant from over time. Sure, kids’ nonstop creative energy can drain your entire life force from your already exhausted and overworked body, but when you take a step back and see the world through the awe-filled eyes of a child, you get a chance to reopen the eyes of your OWN inner child who’s been waiting patiently in an epic game of hide-and-seek.

Once my daughter was born, like so many other parents, I couldn’t even imagine carving out time for myself in a creative capacity. But 10 years later, I started to wonder just what had happened to my long-lost friend creativity. At some point along the way, before I even became a mom, it seems that I put the creative part of myself on a dusty shelf — instead going off off in hot pursuit of a successful, picture-perfect postcard in the world of adulting. Does this story sound familiar?

You can read more here about the 3 common excuses and 3 legitimate barriers that I uncovered — plus 3 mental health benefits of creativity — so you can start choosing your own adventure again!

Creativity’s importance is also backed by science. It is a central component of play, which scientists agree has a variety of positive effects on the health and well-being of people at all ages. It’s time to stop looking at creativity as a frivolous luxury that is accessible only to certain people. Creativity is for all: start by trying a classic kitchen dance party, or doodle in the margins of your notebook during your next meeting!

Ready to expand your creativity?

Once you work through the obstacles that have been blocking your creative time, you’ll find it easier to schedule uninterrupted time in a space outside your home. Your artistic expression will flourish when you’re momentarily free of the distractions of just being an adult.

I’m not talking about a paint and sip night where everyone is instructed to quickly paint the same scene. I’ve done my fair share of these, and noticed that everyone (except those who seemingly came out of the womb with a paintbrush) ends up feeling rushed through the process, compares their piece to everyone else’s efforts, and then leaves with a visual reminder of what their inner critic has been telling them all along: “You’re not an artist!” As well-intentioned as these events may be, such experiences have lost sight of the entire purpose of the creative process: to express your own unique inner voice and perspective, without judgement.

It’s all about your mentality. Why not try out a guitar class? Not because you want to become a professional musician, but just because you’ve always thought it would be fun!

If you already identify as an artist, try exploring a new modality. You might open a whole new world of inspiration and self-awareness. It could be something as subtle as shifting from writing poetry to prose, or painting with oils instead of acrylics. Here I am with my daughter testing out one of the places on the list below!

10 Creative Modalities to Explore on the Seacoast

In addition to the wide variety of visual art and music lessons at well-known places like Portsmouth Music & Arts Center (PMAC) and Seacoast Art Spot, here are some fun out of the box creative options!

1. Destruction as a form of Creation

  • Vent LLC Activity Rooms:
    Their Smash Room is a safe space “for pushing your limits, boosting confidence, breaking social norms, fun stress relief, and for expressing all our emotions!” Afterward, you can sing and dance around the Splatter Room while you create a colorful canvas!

2. Writing

  • The Word Barn:
    They host workshops ranging from songwriting to playwriting, poetry, comedy, and more.
  • Writers Night Out:
    Informal monthly gatherings at Liars Bench Beer Company in Portsmouth where you can discuss what you are working on, what you are reading, where you are submitting your work, and more.


3. Comedy and Theater

  • Seacoast Improv Incubator
    Weekly meetup for an evening of improv games and exercises — perfect for anyone looking to laugh, de-stress, and use a different part of their brain for a few hours. All experience levels welcomed.
  • Stranger than Fiction Improv & Comedy
    Options range from open improv jams, classes and workshops!
  • 3S Artspace
    A wide variety of community workshops “like Couch to Mic, where participants learn to write, rehearse, and perform original comedy material.”
  • The Actors Studio of Newburyport:
    A large selection of class offerings for both theater and on camera acting, and for writers and directors.

4. Dance

There’s no shortage of adult dance classes in the Seacoast, offered in every style that might speak to you. Here are a few:

    • Ballroom & Latin Dance Lessons | Krystal Ballroom Dance Studio
      Private Lessons, Group Classes, and Practice Parties with “a schedule that is flexible for each student’s needs…a self-paced but open enrollment studio, meaning that you can start at any time! No partner or prior experience is necessary.”
    • Fox Run Dance Hall and Studio
      From line dancing to ballet to hula hooping, they also have dance parties, and many more styles.
    • Sole City Dance
      Sign up for 6–8-week sessions running from August to January and January to June in the dance style of your choice!

5. Floral Arranging

  • Kvitka Farm
    Support a talented Ukrainian family on the Seacoast and rent a stem bar for your next celebration event. You and your family/friends can try out the art of floral arranging together! This would make a fun and unique Moms Night Out (or IN the comfort of your own home)!
  • Illume Floral
    Reach out to learn more about gathering “without pressure to perform, but simply to create with one of nature’s most beautiful mediums…flowers.”

6. Photography

  • Photography School:
    Offering beginner and intermediate photography workshops in a variety of formats.

7. Glass Art

8. Candle Making

  • Sea Love
    BYOB while you mix your own scent and pour your own candle!

9. Woodworking, metal-working, pottery, knitting, crocheting, sewing, and everything else your creative heart could desire…

  • Port City Makerspace
    Offering so many creative modalities, they don’t fit neatly into just one category, they fit into pretty much ALL of them! They even have an entire textiles lab for a wide variety of fabric and crafting projects including jewelry making and screen printing.

10. Naps (Yes, NAPS!)

Rest is an essential component of everyone’s creative process. It’s the white space that allows your eye to notice everything else; the quick glimmers of peace that allow you to remember who you are outside of your role as a mom.

  • Check out Relief Parenting’s wide variety of parenting resources including their nap room — with childcare provided!

Not sure what to try out first?

  • Take this free quiz for personalized suggestions: Understanding your Play Style
  • Check out live performances and museums of all kinds for amazing inspiration. Don’t forget to ask your library for free and discounted museum passes! For example, this piece at the Peabody Essex Museum really inspired me to add glassblowing to this list.

6 Tips to Jumpstart Your Creativity

  1. Rethink the ways you’ve been conditioned to think about creativity. What would you like this relationship to look like, moving forward?
  2. Be present without interruptions. Go ahead, put away the screens and your never-ending list of adulting tasks. Some of them will be easier to accomplish once you’ve filled up your own creative cup!
  3. Experiment with different creative modalities! Think about the young kids you know; they don’t just pick one way to be creative and fun. In the span of a few hours, they might paint a picture, do a silly dance, make up a song while playing with playdough, tell a story… and they have zero cares about how “good” any of it is! Which leads me to the next point:
  4. Let go of perfection and self-judgement. Be vulnerable in the creative process; let your guard down—you’ll be ok taking off some of that protective armor!
  5. Build and lean on a village of people who can help make your creativity logistically possible. Do you and your partner help each other get out of survival mode? Have you identified trusted people who can take something off your plate, even if they don’t do things quite the same way you would?
  6. Pick one structured creative opportunity that you could do sometime in the next 3 months. Communicate this to at least one person who can help you make it happen and hold you accountable when you start to question yourself or try to back out at the last minute.


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