Tasty Wine & Ugly Art

by David Farrell

“I WAS REALLY motivated to act after hearing Fr. Houk encourage us to do our part for the growth of the church.” This was Jim Stacy’s opening salvo when he called me three months ago. Jim went on to describe his idea about a painting “fellowship” following the Faith@5:30 service. He believed maybe 10 or 15 people would show up and participate in a fun social evening for parishioners who wanted a creative and relaxing evening at the church. Jim is an artist at heart and knows that creative endeavors like painting can relieve stress, distract from daily worries and tap unknown regions of thought.

When I asked, “How do we provide the stuff for a painting group that large ?” Jim responded “No problem, we’re going to supply the paints, canvas, brushes and set it all up so people just walk in and start painting.” Game, set, match. Jim had it figured out. And so, Tasty Wine and Ugly Art was born.

“Maybe 10 or 15 people would show up.”

Jim tapped me to be the first guest artist leader. Over the years, I had taught water color to similar class sizes and had an idea of what was required. Invitations were sent and responses were collected. Within a couple of weeks ten people had favorably responded. Everything was good; expectations were being met. But, to my surprise, the RSVP list for our Parish event had grown to 55 respondents. Jim quickly placed bulk orders for paint, canvases and brushes. Our excitement and anxiety grew.

I was amazed that 70 parishioners and guests were in attendance for the initial painting. My selection of Red Stripe, a pair of sail boats, turned out to be a challenging painting for the group, but everyone tackled it with enthusiasm, topped with a dash of bewilderment. The second painting, Orange Slice, was an easier still life, much to the delight of the audience. Their work was outstanding!

The Take Away

By the numbers, averaging 45 parishioners and 20 guests per meeting, Tasty Wine and Ugly Art has been a tremendous success and will be continued. However, the most rewarding aspect of Jim’s inspired idea, not to discount the beautiful art work in any way, is the fellowship, outreach, loving support and companionship the program yields to our church family. Mixing friends, couples, families, children and guests around art tables provides a wonderful opportunity for our community to talk, share a few laughs and give to each other.

Our Tasty Wine and Ugly Art program is providing a new canvas of connectivity for our church. The way I see it, we are the paint and God has his hands on the brushes.

Don’t miss the next Tasty Wine & Ugly Art event on September 30, 7 p.m. in the Parish Hall.

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