Kazakh Entrepreneur’s ARTparty Popularizes Sip and Paint Industry in Europe, Enters London Market This February

ASTANA – The sip and paint experience, a combination of artistic expression and social interaction, enjoys high demand among modern entertainment preferences. One brushstroke at a time, ARTparty founder Akbota Akylbayeva turned an art concept into a go-to destination in Europe and now introduces her project in London. Its opening in the heart of the British capital is scheduled for Feb. 16. 

Akbota Akylbayeva.

“ARTparty is a networking platform where people make friendships through art. It’s about finding your inner peace, living the moment, and relaxing by just putting a stroke on a blank canvas,” said Akylbayeva in an interview with The Astana Times. 

Akylbayeva is a native of Semei city in eastern Kazakhstan. She now resides in the Netherlands with her family. 

Unlike traditional art classes, which can be intimidating for beginners, sip and paint sessions are designed to be not only enjoyable and approachable but emotional given their face-to-face interactions and a sense of community. 

In three and a half years of its work, ARTparty held nearly 600 art workshops and 200 private sessions. The platform was a venue for 313 events last year alone. 

Akylbayeva proudly noted that the company provided the “most popular sip and paint experience both in Stockholm and Amsterdam.” As a case in point, ARTparty organized 30 events for Booking.com, the largest online travel agency headquartered in the Dutch capital.

ARTparty’s customer category includes Big Four accounting firms – Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Ernst and Young (E&Y) and Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG). 

It also encompasses consulting companies and banks, such as Accenture and Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Algemene Bank Nederland (ABN) Amsterdam-Rotterdam (AMRO) Bank, and Internationale Nederlanden Groep (ING), as well as retailers, including Sweden’s H&M (Hennes and Mauritz), Canada’s Lululemon, Japan’s Asics, and the U.S. Nike and Under Armour. 

“One of the most memorable art events took place last year. Sitting outdoors at a harbor overlooking large white yachts, more than 60 employees from Dentsu, a Japanese international advertising company, were painting their office building,” said Akylbayeva. The scene was a reference to the American TV series, “The Office,” where one of the movie characters was painting their working office.   

The concept of combining art and alcohol beverages originates from the United States. It gained popularity in the early 2000s. Photo credit: Akylbayeva.

The beginning of 2024 marks the ARTparty’s opening in London. The first two-hour art session in the heart of the British capital is scheduled for Feb. 16. 

During a two-hour workshop, professional artists provide participants with a step-by-step guidance. Photo credit: Akylbayeva.

“London was always on my mind. We have high expectations. Our goal is to go big and win the market as we did in smaller cities by creating a top sip and paint experience. Besides, the corporate events industry is very diversified here. A lot of large companies are based in London hence, we hope to start working with interesting businesses,” she said. 

“It is a completely different market, very competitive and customers are quite picky. However, we are sure that once Londoners discover our company, they will love the experience and share it with their friends and family,” added Akylbayeva. 

This is not the first time for the Kazakh entrepreneur to visit London for professional goals. Four years ago, Akylbayeva studied digital marketing and arts management at the University of the Arts London (UAL). 

“These studies made the most impact on me. Upon their completion, I carried out a small research on what is popular in Kazakhstan. With the help of my close friend I started hosting several sip and paint events in Copenhagen,” she said. 

In 2014, Akylbayeva got married in Türkiye at the Kazakh Consulate in Istanbul.  

Photo credit: Akylbayeva.

“That was a turning point for me and my husband. We decided to try new things, live in different countries, and explore the world together. Our first child was born in Moscow, and our second was born in Stockholm,” she said. 

The idea to launch her own business away from home came up right before the COVID-19 pandemic, when she made a bold career switch, leaving her full-time research work. 

“My passion for art originates from childhood. Art has always been a significant part of my life. For seven years, I attended rhythmic gymnastics, dance clubs, and painting. My first paintings were sold to my relatives,” she said, recalling her family gatherings at an early age. 

Akylbayeva’s activities with a track record of business collaborations represent the simple joy of sipping, painting, and embracing the beauty of shared experiences. ARTparty not only redefines the traditional art experience but also removes social barriers that contribute to intercultural interaction abroad.  

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