As night fell, the MacVittie College Union mailroom transformed from a post office and study spot into a painting studio filled with student artists on Saturday Oct. 21.
Geneseo Late Knight’s annual Art After Hours painting event presented two local painters who guided a room full of students through a step-by-step painting lesson. The finished product was an image of a classic lighthouse poised in front of a rich sunset and a sandy beach. Students eager to relieve the mid-semester stress through a creative outlet packed into the mailroom.
History major junior Shelby Schmigel is a new member of the GLK board and helped with set up for the event. Before settling down to paint an anglerfish, she shared her excitement.
“A wonderful business here comes to teach the students how to paint—I love it,” Schmigel said. “You don’t get a lot of chances to paint now and I think a lot of people miss picking up a brush and just going at it. A lot of people come here just to paint and have fun.”
The local business Zest 4 Art—a studio run by Aimee Bergvall—assisted GLK in hosting the event. Bergvall’s very own business centers around teaching others different ways to paint on vinyl. Her collaboration with the college is extensive. She not only helps with Art After Hours, but also teaches at private parties for students’ birthdays or sorority events.
While most of the attendees decided to follow along with Bergvall’s painting, some students decided to go in their own direction—a decision that the staff at Zest 4 Art encourages. Two sorority members, for instance, painted sunflowers and accounting major senior Michaela Omecinsky, inspired by the Halloween season, chose to create a spooky, darkened landscape.
“I usually start doing what they’re doing before I think of another idea,” Omecinsky said. “I’ve always done just random stuff.”
Another student decorated her record with a scene reminiscent of Rockwell, a sandy expanse dotted with a cactus and a UFO. Even the participants who chose to recreate the lighthouse scene customized it by adding their own elements.
Some of the student painters, for example, added tombstones and other fall images in the foreground to make their paintings more appropriate for the season.
No matter what students decided to create, the painting night was a big hit, with almost every seat filled. The event was not only a great way to relax, but also an opportunity for people who aren’t normally involved in the arts to be exposed to the fun of painting, according to biology major senior Courtney King.
GLK’s goals of providing a fun after-dark activity and making the arts more accessible were achieved at Art After Hours. Hopefully, the popular event will return in the future and show others the joy of engaging in the arts.