Cotton Candy Clouds Studio opens in Gardnerville

Cotton Candy Clouds Creator and Owner Jessica Johnsen and Creative Director Shelby Foster.

Cotton Candy Clouds Creator and Owner Jessica Johnsen and Creative Director Shelby Foster.
Photo by Sarah Drinkwine.

When was the last time you looked up at the sky in wonder, watching the cotton-candy-like clouds spark imagination? For a local mom, it was when her daughter invited her to look up and that’s when she had an idea — to create an environment for children to learn, grow, play and use their imagination and be inspired to dream. And thus created Cotton Candy Clouds.

“It’s a place to make messes, because do you really want to get your macaroni and beans out at home?” said Cotton Candy Clouds Creator and owner Jessica Johnsen.

In 2019, Johnsen was looking for a place for her daughter that went beyond play. She wanted a place that would cultivate a love for adventure, inspire creativity, stimulate imagination, and shed distraction and boredom for both children and their parents.

“But this didn’t exist in our town or the greater Northern Nevada region, for that matter,” said Johnsen. “I began to dream of a place.”

She said becoming a mom inspired her to create the things she wishes existed and Cotton Candy Clouds was born.

It began as an outdoor experience in Genoa with a handful of other mothers. Johnsen said they would get together and organize experiences with no itinerary.

“We just kept adding things like arts and crafts, sensory activities and adventures,” she said. “It just kept growing.”

Today, Cotton Candy Clouds’ new home is the previous Record-Courier office located at 1503 Main St., Suite K.

“It was a community effort that brought this vision to life,” said Johnsen. “A local high school student created the chalk mural; Brown Bear redid the cabinets. I couldn’t have done it without them.”

The studio location has a variety of experiences to enjoy from a book nook, a splatter room for little artists to create masterpieces to a soft play toddler area. Some classes and experiences include, bunny yoga, fort building and family movie night, parent date nights and mom nights too.

“I wanted it to be an experience for anyone from 0 to 100,” said Johnsen. “I want parents to feel safe, seen and heard here along with their children. We just want to feel like a community, a home.”

The studio’s grand opening was April 1 and new experiences are being added weekly, said Johnsen.

“We’re creating holiday and seasonal activities, summer programs, and are open for ideas too,” she said.

Johnsen said the big project at the studio currently is the Community Wisdom Tree.

“It’s a portal into another world of imagination,” she said. “It’s going to have a screen that will project images from things like seasonal, holidays, places, space and other worlds to show children there is a world beyond what is here.”

Johnsen said story time and a stage hosting puppet, dress up and magic shows and other experiences will be held around the community tree.

“It’s a tribute to our community because this was a community effort that brought this place to life,” she said.

Donations are being accepted for the Community Wisdom Tree at Visit Cotton Candy Clouds at on Facebook at and on Instagram at cottoncandyclouds_nv for more information, memberships and classes.


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