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Three Ways To Bring Live Art Into An Event That Don’t Involve Live-Painting

Turn your art event into an experience where your guests can feel like artists too!

One of my favorite things about The Culture LP is the way this site covers art as apart of modern culture because I love art. My love for art is boundless. I frequently visit galleries and museums in my home-base of Chicago and even with a busy travel schedule, I can always make time for art whenever I visit a city. My record being 8 different ones during a 36 hour trip to DC.

In addition to my love of art, I also love events. Not in the “bandage dress and bottle service” kind of way. In the “I produced three events and worked on 30 in 2015 alone.” Naturally, whenever I get invited to an event that promises to involve art that isn’t a gallery show – I get really excited!

However, my excited usually diminishes to side-eye quickly after arrival as nine times out of ten, this just means live painting. I am so, so sick of live painting. First, I find it to be an invasion of the creative process that doesn’t actually inform us of the creative process. Watching someone paint a canvas while loud music plays and even louder people talk tells me absolutely nothing about what is probably an incredible piece. Even Bob Ross had something to say. It put us all to sleep but he still said it. Second, it doesn’t truly involve the attendees in anything. You are standing there watching someone paint for about ten minutes then you’re talking to someone for twenty and miss half of it. I say this because having someone live paint for more than 30 minutes is absurd to me but I digress.

I promised myself that 2016 was the year I decided to talk about solutions rather than things that annoy me. Aren’t there enough people on the internet talking about things annoying them? So, here are three ways to incorporate art into your next event.

        Let your guests actually paint.

One of my favorite events from my days working in San Francisco was “SF Weekly’s Annual Best Of” event at an amazing space called Public Works. They set up a table, covered it with a sheet and put a sheet under it. There were enough canvas to go around but a lot of people shared and collaborated. It was the most fun aspect of a painting party (another thorn in my Event Producer side) without the pressure to try to execute a Basquiat style masterpiece on a giant canvas everyone is staring at.

Social media bonus: People love to share their attempts at art. Embrace it and don’t forget to put your hashtag above the painting station. (insert photo one below)

       Create something that slowly adds to the decor.

Speaking of that hashtag, your event probably has some sort of theme, right? Use that theme to pose a question to your guests. The wall decal below (insert photo two) is one my all-time favorite pins. You can use whatever shape suits your event. For example, if I were producing an event for The Culture LP, it would be T C L P and the question would be: “What are you adding to your culture?”

My answer would be: “I am creating engaging events that inspire and provide lifelong memories.” I’d write that on a post-it and add to the outline of the shape on the wall. You can use paper if the space is rented but if it’s a venue you have a good relationship with, maybe you can do it directly on the wall or even leave it up after the event is over.

Social media bonus: The process of answering the question, adding it to the wall and reading others’ answers would be a Khaled Kaliber Snapchat story depending on the event/question.

      Speed up the live painting process and do an unveiling.

I do not entirely hate the concept of watching an artist work through their process, I just don’t think an event is the right medium to do that in. If you really want to work with an artist to create something for your event. Have them work on it and tape themselves throughout the process. Then, make a timelapse video, cutting it down to anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes, depending on the process and unveil the piece at the your event. You can make a presentation of it or just have the video projecting throughout your event prior to the unveiling. Worried you don’t have the videography chops (no pun intended) to make a timelapse video? As always, the internet is here for you. For inspiration, check out the video below from Glastonbury 2013.

There you have it, three free ideas to utilize the next time you want to invite art into your party. Don’t say I never gave you anything and don’t forget to put me on the guestlist.

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Denayja Reese

Denayja Reese is an Event Services freelancer working to create experiences that enable people and brands to reach their target audiences. She is also an Executive Producer who makes web series, short films and music videos. Her life principles are inspiration, connection, productivity, innovation and evolution.