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Theater makeup artist opens State Street studio

Theater makeup artist opens State Street studio

Makeup Curio can create drama and beauty, or both, or neither

SCHENECTADY — A makeup artist who has been helping people transform themselves for years has transformed a downtown storefront into a studio, moving her business out of her home in the process.

Jenn Dugan cut the ribbon last week on The Makeup Curio, where she sells products and services ranging from everyday beauty to special events to theatrical productions.

The products and services run the gamut from beautiful to weird — theater, glamour and pinup modeling, special effects, cosplay and fantasy.

“It’s all aspects of makeup in one location,” said Dugan, an East Greenbush native who has lived in Schenectady for the past four years.

She is starting solo, with help from friends and family, and hopes to hire an employee in the next several weeks to handle retail sales while she focuses on services. The business is designed to be a 50-50 split between the two.

Dugan earned a bachelor’s degree in fashion design from Marist College and landed her first job as costume director for a production of “Seussical” in West Virginia. Makeup was a self-taught, natural progression for her, she said.

“A lot of community and regional theaters don’t hire a makeup designer,” she explained.

Beauty makeup followed theatrical makeup, again a natural progression because she considers both to be transformative, both physically and psychologically. She enjoys both now.

“I have a hard time picking one over the other.”


As she built her business through freelancing and teaching, she also continued her education, obtaining an associate degree in business administration and earning a state esthetics license through the Aesthetic Science Institute in Latham.

In 2016, she completed the Capital Region Chamber's Entrepreneur Boot Camp and competition, coming in second place with her business plan. 

Her goal in opening a studio was to be within less than a mile of a theater and a school. She has three of each within a mile of 510 State St., most notably Proctors, where she ran a summer camp this year.

“It’s a thriving arts area,” she said. “It’s a thriving downtown.”

Workshops and instruction on the various aspects of makeup also are part of Dugan’s business plan.

She has provided instruction in theater makeup to middle school and high school students and will be doing so again next month at Albany High School.

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