New Bedford is known for a lot of things. It’s known as the Whaling City and at one time it was known as the City of Light. Now it could easily be called the City of Art. When it comes to the percentage of population of artists Massachusetts is well above the national average and New Bedford is ranked even higher. In a recent article by the Atlantic Cities publication, New Bedford was named the 7th most artistic city in the nation. Alma DelMar has declared that New Bedford has “the most artists per capita of any place in America”. The sheer number of galleries, art studios, photography shops, design studios, and various other art businesses would certainly suggest it.
When it comes to the percentage of population that considers themselves an artist, Massachusetts is well above the national average and New Bedford even higher. In fact, a recent article in the Atlantic Cities publication named New Bedford the 7th most artistic city in the nation and Alma DelMar has declared that New Bedford “…has the most artists per capita of any place in America.” The sheer number of galleries, art studios, photography shops, design studios, graphic art businesses, etc. would certainly suggest it.
So, it would make sense that there are some innovative, creative and progressive ideas circulating in the community. One of those brilliant concepts is artist-led painting classes that bring the art to the people in a casual environment (read friends, fare, and fun.) If you’re like me and struggle drawing stick figures or handwriting that is legible, you have a healthy respect for art and artists, and may even feel that any chance of something resembling art couldn’t possibly be produced.
Well, we’d be wrong!
uPaint! Events is a mobile business that teaches “social” painting classes anywhere. They’ll come to your job, home, office, function hall, local restaurant or anywhere else. In fact, they feature many of their classes at local spots like Joe’s Cafe & Lounge.
But you don’t need a business establishment to enjoy what uPaint offers. Have a birthday or anniversary and want to do something a little out of the ordinary? Want to invite the girls over, order takeout, and bust open some wine? Having a slumber party for the kids? No special reason needed! You get your very own supplies and empty canvas and a talented and very capable artist willing to demonstrate, direct and inspire you to replicate the same piece of work that he or she is creating. All in an unintimidating environment. Each session is photographed digitally, so you can show your friends and keep a memento of the session!
Owner, instructor and local Miranda Pellegrino is an illustrator, photographer, artist, and graphic designer who has degrees in Graphic Design and Fine Art and is pursuing her third as an Illustration major at UMass Dartmouth. She was previously teaching classes in Rhode Island before relocating to New Bedford. She is passionate about bringing art and its social, cultural, and mental benefits to the people. She said that in spite of her years of experience she takes great joy, and is continually impressed but what people at the uPaint events create.
Miranda sums up one of the biggest misconceptions about social painting in her own words: “Usually the biggest misconception and/or fear that customers have is that it’s just too difficult to paint something ‘good’. They see the paintings and have anxiety about their abilities and skills or lack thereof. Customers start to relax as they learn step-by-step how to paint, how to mix colors, how to blend, and so on. I let them have enough independence that they don’t feel trapped in a rigorous lesson and give individual attention to all. It’s very important that the customers paint their own works as I don’t draw or paint anything for them. Their sense of accomplishment and happiness drives me. Everyone has an innate sense of design and is a capable of being an artist. I don’t believe that you’re either talented or not.”
What is a class like? A typical class is 2.5 hours long followed by a 30 minutes worth of digital photo taking. After donning your apron and parking your butt, an instructor will introduce themselves, welcome you, before a quick explanation about utilizing the brushes and mixing colors.
Then you dig in. The instructor then creates the painting one step at a time, with clear, concise instructions. Before the next step is started, the instructor will field questions and check everyone’s work. Half way through, there is a 15 minute recess before finishing the second half. Then it’s photo time for bragging, boasting, or laughing at your creations!
There are a ton of benefits to tapping into one’s creative side, and when you add fun, social environment, and perhaps a little Lambrusco (or Spätlese), you get an experience that you will fondly remember…and certainly want to repeat. Having it at your home means that you get to avoid heading to the big city and dealing with its traffic and crowds. It’s you, your friends and family only.
Who knows, you may even turn out to pick up a new hobby, uncover a talent you had no idea about, or perhaps….just perhaps, you’ll be one of the new members of the growing art community that New Bedford is known for.
Want more information? Miranda’s website has testimonials, an easy to use calendar, a photo gallery of sessions, and some images of some of the paintings you will create. You can keep updated on promotions, find out about fundraisers, purchase gift certificates, or even book a private event.
The next classes:
Sunday, May 4th: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/636064
Sunday, May 11th: http://sunflowers.bpt.me/
Phone: (508) 685-1329
Mon – Fri: 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Sat – Sun: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm