Now as long as the weather holds (or if you’re indoors), you’re good to go. Here’s a last-minute checklist of the materials you’ll need for a group painting event.
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Equipment and supplies you’ll need
1. Registration tables and chairs for your volunteers.
2. More tables to hold all the art-related materials.
3. Art supplies like paint, brushes, water, plastic plates, permanent markers, etc.
4. Any visual resources if you are creating a representational work of art.
5. Whatever type of canvas or support you’ll be using. I’ve used a 4×8 framed out and primed, and had a heavy duty easel built to hold it.
6. If you are tossing paint on a floor canvas you’ll need tarps or drop cloths.
7. Those Pollock-esque paintings take a long time to dry, so a secure drying area is a necessary consideration as well.
8. No matter what you’re doing, aprons or smocks are almost always needed.
9. As are cleaning supplies, like paper towels, soap, etc.
10. It’s also a good idea to have a written schedule for the day. Your schedule might includes when certain groups are coming, such as girl scouts or senior citizens, when the news media might be there, and of course, the “first stroke” kick off painter (perhaps the mayor, or a local honoree, you name it).
Since your idea may be much more diverse than just painting a group mural, you’ll need to think through each and every step of your event on your own and come up with a list of materials to accomplish the task and keep everyone safe.
For instance, I once had a large group of children whose feet we painted, then lifted and placed on the floor canvas to run off. Setting them down in a pattern produced the look of a firework going off in the sky. Everything worked great. . . until they ran off the canvas and down the hallway.
Note to self—next time remember to have a kid catcher nearby. :)
Additional considerations for your event
Because you will be involved in the actual production of the piece, you will need a “coordinator” who can make sure all the extra details of the event are taken care of.
Your coordinator might be in charge of introducing musicians or special groups, relieving the registration table personnel, or chasing after people who walked away with their aprons on—an all around grease-in-the-wheels type who can help solve problems.
When it’s all over, you will want to photograph the work so that an opportunity exists for the participants to purchase a copy. This can defray costs or be used for charity.
Cleaning up may be exhausting at the end of a long day, but it’s always good exhaustion. I’ve never failed to be pleasantly surprised at what we accomplished.
When you’re done, remember why it’s all worth it
Like any other professional, the artist serves the community by making a product and providing a service from a unique set of gifts. Helping our neighbors experience the joy of creating, alongside others with the same goal, is a step toward a better world.
In my opinion, when an artist (in any media) helps us to reconnect with “community” and each other, he or she has awakened the beauty of what it is to be human. It is selflessness that inspires.
Maybe that’s always been the artist’s purpose—to call out something better in us all.
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