Cannabis tourism is still just in its infancy but it’s really interesting to see the type of attractions that are popping up all around the country in states that have fully legalized recreational marijuana.
One attraction that will likely be popping up in your state after legalization occurs is a “puff and paint.”
It’s a slight alteration on the paint and sip a lot of people are already familiar with except this one is BYOC (bring your own cannabis).
In this article, I’ll give you a full review of the puff and paint experience at Arte Bella in Tucson, Arizona.
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What is the Puff And Paint at Arte Bella?
Puff And Paint at Arte Bella is a new attraction in Tucson, Arizona, that allows you to consume cannabis on site and enjoy an instructor-led painting class where you get to paint your own masterpiece on a fresh canvas.
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Where is the Puff And Paint at Arte Bella?
Arte Bella on 4th Ave is located at: 340 N 4th Ave, Tucson, AZ 85705.
This is an area where you can find a lot of other interesting places and restaurants to check out so pairing the puff and paint experience with a visit to a restaurant either before or after your session could make for a nice evening out.
Tip: Don’t get this location confused with the other Arte Bella location at 5870 E Broadway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85711 which is more of a family friendly environment. That venue is also located in a shopping mall.
The Puff And Paint Arte Bella experience
Your experience really begins whenever you book your session.
You can view the different classes offered online and you’ll see a preview of the type of painting you can attempt. The types of paintings come in all different forms ranging from landscapes to paintings of characters from The Office.
On weekdays it looks like they usually run one class at both 6 PM and 8 PM but on weekends they run classes throughout the day. Prices depend on the size of your canvas and type of paint but we paid about $30 per person.
When you arrive you’ll head through a long hallway decked out with all sorts of different creations.
At the end of the hallway, you’ll see iLava kiosks that allows you to order both recreational and medical marijuana.
You place your order at the kiosk and then pick up your order at Downtown Dispensary which is 6 minutes away by foot. There is also a smoke shop nearby if you need to visit them.
As soon as you enter the main area, head to the bar where you will show your ID to prove that you are of age. Once you do that you’ll be issued a wristband.
We decided to try out one of their drinks called starry night and also went with some sparkling water/soda water. The vibes from the bartender and everyone else inside were all on point from the start.
This is one of the only establishments in Arizona you’ll find that caters to both cannabis and alcohol in the same venue. You can order drinks before you start or even during the session or you can just stick to your cannabis if you’d like.
As far as consuming cannabis, they allow you to vape or dab inside at any time. If you want to smoke they have an outdoor patio that you can slip into where you can use joints, pipes, bongs, etc.
I really appreciated that they kept the indoor part of the venue smoke-free although I think that may have been required by law?
When you arrive, your art instructor will probably be setting everything up and encourage you to visit the bar or get your cannabis intake going.
We just hung out in our chairs next to our canvas and waited for the session to begin.
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At each station, you’ll receive your plate of colors, paint brushes, and a water cup for cleaning your brush. They will also bring you a plate for mixing your colors.
If you happen to have a drink, be sure to keep your water cup far away from your drink so that you don’t ever confuse them because apparently that happens!
Once it’s ready to start, you’ll put on an apron and if you have any type of a long sleeve jacket or coat you might want to take that off just to be on the safe side.
Your instructor will then give you a briefing on the painting and explain to you some of the basics you’ll need to create your own masterpiece.
It’s a nice environment inside and they play some good music which is nice.
At first the music coming from these huge speakers was just too loud and I could not hear anything the instructor was saying so I had to bring it up but she quickly turned down the music to a level that allowed me to understand what she was saying.
If the music is too loud for you be sure to speak up early because you don’t want to miss out on the instructions that will help you do things like blend your colors together, choose the right paint brush size, etc.
Throughout your session, you basically receive instructions in different stages as you work on the painting.
It’s sometimes pretty simple stuff like “paint the top part blue” but sometimes you get more detailed instructions like mix these three colors together and dab your small paintbrush here and there.
In some cases you might be applying a lot of paint to one layer and need to stand up and quick dry your painting but your instructor should show you how this is done.
Tip: Be mindful of any belongings like your phone that might be in the splash zone of your brush strokes.
This was my first ever painting session like this and I don’t think I had even painted anything in well over a decade.
Despite my lack of experience and skill level, this was actually a lot of fun.
There’s something about accessing the creative part of your brain when inspired by cannabis that is such a unique and cool feeling.
I know the science is limited and studies debate whether or not marijuana really makes you more creative but in my personal experience I absolutely believe it does.
Or, at the very least, it allows you to appreciate and enjoy activities that require creativity a lot more.
Even if you don’t necessarily know what you’re doing with the paintbrush it still feels good finding a new way to express yourself.
Try not to be over critical of yourself and avoid trying to create the perfect replica of your designated painting. It’s much funner to put your own personal touch on your work and just use the painting as a very loose guide post.
Feel free to completely remove elements (e.g., trees) from the painting if you’re not feeling them.
With that said, it does help to have the image of the painting readily available on your phone for reference.
You can save the image or you can probably get it airdropped to you by your instructor.
I’d recommend changing the settings on your phone so that your screensaver does not ever come on. That way, you can quickly glance at the image anytime you need.
(The instructor usually has a real life painting for you to look at but in our case they did not have that on site.)
What’s also cool about this experience is that venues like this are still very new.
Openly consuming cannabis indoors inside in a venue that is actively encouraging you to do so is very much a novel experience.
And because of that, it feels like a very open and accepting place were you can come and be free.
Our session only had the two of us which was really cool because it felt like a private session but I know some of the other sessions can be a lot bigger, especially on the weekend.
The entire session lasts about an hour and a half to an hour and 45 minutes.
Once you make the finishing touches to your canvas, you’ll let your canvas dry for a little bit and then you are free to head out and take your canvas with you. Tips are always appreciated, of course.
Doing anything cannabis related out in public still makes me slightly uneasy.
I think the years of all things weed related being illegal still sometimes make it difficult for me to fully relax when partaking in public places.
But attending venues like this, where it is 100% legal and acceptable to partake, is a nice way to begin to overcome that and re-frame what cannabis consumption can look like in a modern world.
It’s also just a good time being creative and testing out your art skills.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC.