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Paint the Town draws crowd
Social painting event grows in popularity

Kirsten Fenn
Northern News Services
Friday, October 7, 2016

If you can't see the aurora at night, why not paint one yourself? That's what a group of about 20 women did on Sept. 29 when they took part in the city's first Paint the Town event.

NNSL photo/graphic

Kristin Richardson works on her masterpiece at a Paint the Town event on Sept. 29 at Twist Bar and Grill. - photo courtesy of Stacie Smith

"It's an event where people can come to a bar, enjoy adult-only time learning how to paint something," said artist and Flowers North owner Stacie Smith.

She came up with the event series and leads participants through each painting session.

Smith got the idea while in at a Paint Nite in Edmonton. It's an event where people come together to enjoy drinks and follow an instructor's lead as they paint a pre-selected artwork in their own style.

When Smith proposed to Paint Nite that they start an offshoot in Yellowknife, the company turned her down because it felt the city was too small a market, she said.

So she decided to create her own version instead.

The idea has been a hit.

The kick-off event "went really well," selling out tickets and making for a chance to meet new people, Smith said.

"A lot of the ladies - about 50 per cent - I didn't know from town," she said.

They spent the evening working on a painting of the aurora, which made good use of different colours and gave Smith a chance to teach different painting techniques.

"Everyone has their own style, and that's the whole point of it," Smith said.

"They can have some drinks, have some good food at the venue and just hang out with a nice group of people."

The painting social events are hosted at Twist Bar and Grill and generally last a few hours.

A $45 ticket gets you in the doors and gives you everything you need to perfect your brushstrokes: paint, brushes, a smock to protect your clothes and an instructor to guide the way.

"I am always the instructor," Smith said. "Now, come the new year, we'll see if we can get any guest artists, any local artists in town who would like to do one."

When Smith decided to organize two more for Oct. 13 and Nov. 3, both sold out completely - the first within a day.

That was despite the fact she bumped up the number of seats to 30.

"I think it's because some people have done it down south and they have been eager waiting for somebody to do it here in town," she said.

"Nobody had tried it yet and I was like, 'OK, well I want to get this underway.'"

The room was packed with women for the first event, but Smith said men are also invited to come get in touch with their artistic side during Paint the Town.

"It's something that is not often done here in town and it's only going to grow from here," Smith said. "The possibilities are endless."

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