Adult art movement brewing in Durham Region

Photo by Nicole O'Brien
br> Two girls enjoy a night out of painting and socializing at the Paint Lounge in Markham.

With the fast-paced world we live in, consumers are often looking for a creative outlet to relieve stress.

Last year was the year of the adult colouring book, where millions of copies were gobbled up by adutls looking to colour their stress away.

But 2016 may be the year of the adult art class.

Adult art classes have been around for years, but they have recently become more popular in Durham Region.

Many studios have started adult-only painting classes, and local bars have opened their doors to allow customers to be guided from the artist itself while enjoying a beverage or two.

Studios such as 4Cats in Whitby, the Paint Lounge in Markham, and the Pickering Pottery & Art Studio are just some of the venues offering adult art classes.

“People just like the escape,” said Paint Lounge’s operation manager, Kevin Chow.

After signing up for a class or workshop, customers can expect to be guided through a one-hour step-by-step paint session with an instructor and get to take the piece they created home.

Marc Walsh, part owner and an instructor at 4Cats in Whitby, says they started adult-only classes in 2015, testing the waters with two classes.

“There has been a growing interest. Now in many weeks we are holding four classes a week,” Walsh said.

Studios such as the Paint Lounge in Markham offer “freestyle” paint classes, where customers get an hour to paint whatever they would like.

The Paint Lounge provides the easel, paint, brushes and aprons, as well as ideas if you need inspiration.

“Primarily they are for you to explore art in a judge-free environment,” says Paint Lounge’s operation manager Kevin Chow.

And it isn’t just art studios diving into this trend.

Paint Nite, a paint and sip company, started four years ago and was among the first companies to act on the adult art movement trend.

The company provides people with a fun social event while allowing them to express their creative side.

Paint Nites happen at local bars and pubs around the world, and many are held in Durham Region including in Pickering, Oshawa, Whitby and Ajax.

With a paintbrush in one hand, and a wine glass in the other, customers are led by an artist through a two-hour paint session.

The company has done exceptionally well since they started. According to the Paint Nite website, the company has sold over 3 million tickets to date.

Walsh says these adult classes are an extension of family nights. He says adults have a great experience with their kids and realize it could be fun with anyone.

“Adults are coming to those family nights with their kids and then they want to do it with their girlfriends, or boyfriend, or husband,” Walsh says. “I really think it’s the next step from taking a family class, just having a night out.”

These events require no previous experience, and people are encouraged to put down the phone and socialize for a night.

And while the social benefits are great, Chow says people love the experience of painting.

“People just like that escape. They just don’t want to go home after work and just sit on the couch, watch T.V., and wait for the next day to start,” Chow says. “They want to do something that’s liberating for them.”

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Nicole O'Brien is a second year journalist student at Durham College. She enjoys writing about the campus, entertainment and sports for The Chronicle. Her work can also be seen on her entertainment blog, and also on the lifestyle blog Godigio. In her spare time, Nicole enjoys watching movies and listening to music. She hopes to one day work for an entertainment news network on either radio or television.