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The newest twist to a night at your neighborhood bar? Painting lessons!

Posted by Alex Pearlman  April 25, 2012 06:07 PM

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paint nite drinking beer.jpgBy Olivia DiNucci

Forget wine and cheese and pizza and beer; those pairings are so passe. A group of artsy Bostonians has come together to create the latest, greatest alcoholic coupling -- painting and cocktails. If you’re in need of a creative date idea, a new place for Girls’ Night Out, or just a relaxing post-work activity, Paint Nite is your answer.

Held at numerous easily accessible local bars, Paint Nite puts a fun spin on traditional art classes by combining artistic expression with a few drinks. When participants arrive, they receive a canvas, a palette, brushes, and a smock and find an open easel. Throughout the evening, a skilled “master artist” guides Paint Nite attendees from a blank slate to a unique masterpiece.

“Wanna-be artists” Dan Hermann, Sean McGrail, and Pranav Vaidya launched Paint Nite in early March. They began with one night per week, but now -- a little over a month later -- they’re hosting 4-5 sessions per week. Each “class” usually has about 35 participants, who are encouraged to bring friends or come alone and make new ones when they arrive.

“I always loved going to trivia and karaoke nights at bars around town,” McGrail said, “and with the painting aspect, I thought we could try something new.”

At the beginning of each Paint Nite event, the evening’s instructor, usually from MassArt, lays out the basic ground rules -- specifically that there’s no judging of others’ work allowed.

“Paint Nite is more like a party than a quiet, focused painting class,” McGrail said. “When there isn’t instruction taking place, music is played, and people are free to mingle as they go to and from getting their cocktails.”

paint nite group shot.jpgAfter each Paint Nite event, Hermann, McGrail, and Vaidya upload photos to the organization’s Facebook page. The night’s works are forever preserved in Paint Nite’s very own cyber-museum.

In the near future, McGrail said he envisions holding Paint Nite events seven nights per week. He, Hermann, and Vaidya have also talked about expanding their events beyond just painting.

“Art is the core of what we do,” McGrail said. “[We] have thought of incorporating tin foil sculpting.”

McGrail also said that Paint Nite hopes to reach a total of at least 14 venues -- one for each of the city’s neighborhoods. Convenience and accessibility are important to the trio, as are T-accessible locations, in order to discourage any drunk driving.

Once you’ve rounded up some companions, be sure to register early because events are selling out quickly due to Paint Nite’s growing popularity. Attendance will run you anywhere from $35 to $50, drinks not included, but that’s a small price to pay for leaving the bar with a masterpiece rather than a headache.

Photos courtesy of Paint Nite

About Olivia -- I'm a political communications and entrepreneurship studies major at Emerson College, where I also play for the women's basketball team. Emerging myself in new experiences and cultures is something I want my life to consist of. My ideal day in Boston includes biking around town scoping out the best deals and going to the coolest events. Food, traveling, and interacting with people excite me! Twitter: @OliviaDiNucci

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