Combo bar, art crafting space gets creative amid COVID-19

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — For Gridley native Jodie Vieira, creativity has been part of her life for as long as she can remember.

“I’ve just always been interested in the arts. You know as a kid, I loved to draw even though I wasn’t very good at it. I found my medium with jewelry making when I was 20,” she said.

Vieira’s passion for artistry led her to open an Etsy shop. For about seven years, she devoted her online platform to showcase her jewelry work. But some time out west with her husband, Cliff changed her life.

“We were living in Denver at the time. We visited a DIY studio there and we just loved it,” said Vieira.

When the couple moved back to Peoria, they decided to bring the idea of a DIY art crafting studio with them. Vieira now adds entrepreneur to her list of talents. In February, the wife and husband team opened Crafted DIY Studio and Bar in Peoria’s Warehouse District.

She said, “It’s not just having a fun creative experience here, but fostering that sense of community.”

But with the COVID-19 crisis, they’ve had to get even more creative with how they operate their bar and combo art crafting space.

“For everybody, it was overwhelming at the beginning,” Vieira said. “We didn’t know exactly what was going to happen.”

Crafted DIY Studio and Bar was forced to shut down just weeks after opening, due to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s statewide stay-at-home order. The pandemic threatened Vieira’s years of hard work. But even with looming uncertainty, she refused to give up.

Vieira said, “A lot of the kids were at home and the parents were wanting things for them to do.”

The team decided to shift focus from craft drinks and craft projects to an online community. Their business is now offering art kit projects with instructions using common household tools.

“We’re trying to give people a sense of fun and excitement when they’re kind of stuck at home. Something to get their creative energy out and just something unique,” said Vieira.

While the business operations have slightly changed, the vision is clear. Vieira says it’s an opportunity to grow and a time to uplift one another.

Crafted DIY Studio and Bar can be reached here.

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