Tuesday, 28 June 2016

“An Evening to Paint” at North Carolina Wesleyan College’s Pearsall Library

by Melissa Knox

My name is Melissa Knox, and I am the Circulation Supervisor at Pearsall Library on the main campus of North Carolina Wesleyan College. “An Evening to Paint” was such a simple art project for people of all ages. While we aimed for student involvement, it quickly became a program for staff and community. The idea was to give the students who were on campus during the summer, when there is nothing on campus to do, a way to express themselves. As the idea came to life in my mind, I contacted the person I knew could instruct this project, Allison Haislip.

Paint 1

And perfect she was!

She immediately came out to the college to walk the area inside and out of the library to see where would be the ideal space to work with approximately 10 students. We decided within a few moments to do the event outside on our terrace, in the evening around 6:00pm so as not to be too hot, and to provide the paint and canvas for the students. As soon as all of this was decided, I made flyers and hung them up while getting a couple of our work-study students to pass the same flyers out. Then I created an event on Facebook that exploded.

Paint 2Once the word was out and we asked for people to sign up through the event on Facebook, everything took off. Before we knew it, there were 20 people signed up and growing. We ended up having to turn some away because the cost was beginning to exceed budget. Capping the program at 20 allowed us to go ahead and purchase:

  • 1 dozen 16 oz. bottles of acrylic paint
  • 24 paint brushes
  • 20 16×20 canvases

In order to make this all work, Allison and library staff had to make some arrangements, such as bringing in more tables and chairs, covering the tables with tablecloths, and setting up paint stations for each attendee.

After all the hard work, it was time for the real fun to begin– and this event was amazing! Of course, more than 20 people showed up, but there was concentration along with laughter and chatter all around the terrace. We already had some tables on the terrace, and with the use of a couple other tables and chairs, everyone was comfortable and Allison was able to instruct everyone on the art of painting a simple but lovely tree representing each person’s imagination entwined with their personality.

Paint 3

For the next “Evening of Paint” event, students will continue to be able to paint for free, but others from the community will have to pay a small fee to offset the costs. We plan on doing everything the same way, but incorporating music, and of course, using another picture format to challenge the imagination. It was great how everyone worked together to make this a relaxing evening, and to bring the greater community into an academic library space!

*All photos taken by Breanna Cutler and Allison Haislip


Melissa Knox bioMelissa Knox has worked in the Library field for almost nine years now with a background in youth services and childhood development. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Religion from Liberty University, and is pursuing her Master’s in Library Science.

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