Campaign Celebration Night at Refuge Coffee

Thank you so much to everyone who came out and celebrated Paint Love with us at Refuge Coffee Co. on July 20, 2017! A special thank you to the amazing musical duo, Jared&Amber who created a magical atmosphere with their performances all night (scroll down for video) and Ellen Gadberry who led an awesome hands-on art activity! (A recent paper making project she taught within one of our programs!) Together they helped us celebrate our community. 

We announced some exciting news during the event.  First, our fundraising campaign has brought in over $19,000 in four weeks with nearly 100 donors!  There is still time to donate here! We also announced that Paint Love will be presenting at the Good Gracious Variety Show on Saturday, August 26th at Switchyards Downtown.  You can learn more here.  

In addition to our partnership with the Good Gracious Show, Monday Night Brewing has generously offered to host Paint Love's Art Auction for free on Thursday, October 19th as part of their $100K in 100 days promotion! (So make sure to SAVE THE DATE!)

Finally, we announced some HUGE news!! Paint Love has been selected by the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly for a $10,000 Partner Grant. (GCA is a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.)

 
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June at Camp Peace

What a crazy and incredible month, June has been for Paint Love! In the midst of our fundraising for our #SavePaintLove campaign, we have been working with one of our partners, Women’s Resource Center every week!

 

We’ve been working with their summer camp, Camp Peace, for the second year and have loved every minute of it!

The mission of Camp PEACE is to bring children exposed to domestic violence together for a summer of activities that facilitate Peace Education, Action, Compassion and Empathy. Based on principles of Peace Education and Cognitively-Based Compassion Training, Camp PEACE will help children learn alternatives to violence while promoting tolerance, impartiality, affection, self-compassion and compassion for others.

I thought I would share some of our projects and favorite stories from this month as we prepare for the month of July.


Week 1: We kicked off the summer with our very own, Julie McKevitt leading this class! As soon as we walk in, automatically kids remember Julie from Paint Love’s last summer with Camp Peace. We decided to work on a collaborative mural using paints, quilling paper & a photo of Atlanta! Our amazing artist, Rebecca Carmen, designed this amazing mural for us, and divided it for each child to have a canvas. Each child painted and decorated a square tile canvas that would come together to create a mural of Atlanta’s skyline!

These tile canvases were first painted and then decorated using construction paper of the same color! Each one of these tiles came together to create a large canvas. 

These tile canvases were first painted and then decorated using construction paper of the same color! Each one of these tiles came together to create a large canvas. 

 

Week 2: On the second week, we had just launched our #portraitORforfeit challenge online, and this definitely inspired our next project. I led this project by doing funky paper portraits! A lot of the kids choose to use bold colors with pink eyes and purple hair, while some created more traditional portrait pieces. With this project, we did some reflective writing as well. Since we were creating portraits of ourselves, we did short summaries on how we can create peace. Some chose to talk about how they can create peace for others while others discussed how they find peace within.

 
One kid's "bug"rock, don't those pennies look just like eyes??

One kid's "bug"rock, don't those pennies look just like eyes??

Week 3: We took the phrase, “Kindness Rocks!” into a very literal sense with this week’s project. Artist, Kathlene Linehan, led her first session with Paint Love by leading a project focusing on kindness. We gathered tons of river rocks and gave each child a few to paint. The kids could either make them to show kindness to others or as a reminder to be kind to themselves.

I was so impressed by what these kids made!

One little boy created a rock to look like a bug. I asked him why he wanted to make a bug, and he said because he had a friend who really loved bugs! So he was going to make it and give it to him as an act of kindness. He worked diligently, painting the bug, and even hot gluing his own pennies to act as the bug’s eyes! It was so cool to see how many kids made little sweet reminders like this to give to their friends or family.

This week was also super fun for me because we had a big group of volunteers from Georgia State come to help out! By this week, the kids totally remember us and are so excited when Paint Love shows up. In fact, one 8-year-old boy told me “I was really good at my job”, talk about a confidence boost!!

 

Week 4: Our last week in June, we had more GSU students join us and a brand new artist, Lauren Phillips. Lauren has been an elementary art school teacher for years, so we knew she would come with an exciting project! She came with a simple idea of making paper sculptures, just using paper, scissors, and glue. But as soon as Lauren showed the kids all the various ways one could use the paper, these kids’ imaginations went to work! We had everything from a greenhouse to a football stadium to a birdhouse!

This was another fun week for me to see the kids really dive into their work. One boy was being a bit of a distraction and was not participating when one of the GSU volunteers pulled him aside and began working with him. They started talking and all of a sudden he began making a giant roller coaster! He was so proud of his work, he kept coming back to check on it to make sure it was still standing.

As I was leaving, one of the younger groups started waving goodbye. They have trouble remembering my name so they just call me Paint Love because I’m always wearing my bright red Paint Love shirt when I go. One of the girls finally remembered my name and gave me a big hug! She asked, “You’re coming back next week right?” I said “yes! And we will be making something super fun!” She squeezed me as tight as she could and said: “I LOVE YOU PAINT LOVE!”.


This month has been crazy between fundraising and multiple summer events, but moments like that always give me that extra push! I love seeing these kids faces light up when we show up with a wagon full of art supplies. I’ve had so much fun working with everyone at Camp Peace and inviting new people, like our volunteers from GSU, and our two new artists to the Paint Love community! We love what we do, and love it, even more, when we get to share it with new people! So thank you all for helping us create moments like these in serving our community. We are so very grateful.

Memory Collages at Kate's Club

As Paint Love has grown over the last few years, we have been able to partner with so many amazing organizations. But it all began with our partnership with Kate’s Club.

Our intern, Bianca & Community engagement coordinator, Lauren got to meet founder of Kate's Club, Kate Atwood at Creative Mornings in May!

Our intern, Bianca & Community engagement coordinator, Lauren got to meet founder of Kate's Club, Kate Atwood at Creative Mornings in May!

They were our very first partner way back in 2014, and we have loved being a part of the journey with them! Kate’s Club creates a haven for kids experiencing grief through the loss of a loved one. The open conversations these kids are able to have are always incredible for us. We love that we can bring art for these children as a means to express their feelings during times of grief and healing.

We were able to join Kate’s Club twice during the month of June with artist Kim Warner. Kate’s Club has a monthly theme that we usually try to cater our projects to. This month revolved around memories; those we remember well or those we never got to make. Kim has had her own personal journey with grief in the loss of her dad as well as her grandmother. We decided a good way to portray these memories was through a collage project.

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So we gathered our magazines, calendars, and scrapbook material galore to create some memory posters.

We had some students pick specific events they remember with their loved one, or some who just wanted to create a poster of their loved one’s favorite things. We also had a few decide to draw a special moment they wish their loved one could've been there for, such as high school graduation.

 

June was an incredible month working through these memories with Kate’s Club teen group. It’s always so special walking into their welcoming blue and yellow doors and seeing the vulnerability and strength of these kids. But it’s just as incredible to see the ways that Kate’s Club encourages healing and community. We are so grateful for the last three years with Kate’s Club and look forward to many more!

Organizations like Paint Love allow us to bring top notch activities to our members at no charge. Every artist that comes to Kate’s Club really puts time and effort into the activity to make it meaningful and follow our theme of the month.
— Lane Pease, Program Director