A CREATIVE IDEA FEATURE: TRIED AND TESTED BY WOMEN LIKE YOU, FOR WOMEN LIKE YOU
Looking for a Women’s Ministry Event Idea? Learn how to host a successful Paint Party for women at your small church. No experience required!
I’m so excited to share my very first feature interview with a Woman in Ministry doing something amazing in her Small Church. There are so many women around the country (and the world) making a difference with one creative idea.
I’m delighted to share what’s happening at a church in Granite Quarry, North Carolina.
This program is absolutely perfect for women in small churches.
- Inclusive for different age groups
- Encourages relationships like crazy
- And totally duplicatable in your small church
MEET CHERI FROM NORTH CAROLINA!
Today I’m interviewing Cheri Kulhawick from a church in Granite Quarry, NC, over 2000 miles away from me!
Cheri and her husband Leo moved to North Carolina in 2016 from Ohio. She has 3 grown daughters and a son-in-law, who all made the move with them.
Her church has 150 worshipers on a Sunday. While Cheri is a part-time secretary at her church, this featured program is completely a volunteer venture.
A PAINT PARTY FOR WOMEN’S MINISTRY
Connect Group – Paint! is a monthly event Cheri started this year. Last week, 15 women (all NON-artists except 1!) had a blast creating their own painting.
This is her 3rd painting event so far and the surveys indicate that this group is meeting needs.
The top reasons women are loving it include:
- Doing something for themselves – finding much needed “me” time
- Getting a break from busy lives, demands of jobs, families and kids
- Getting to hang with other women – fellowship, conversation, making new friends
- And they say, “It’s really great therapy!”
FOLLOWING IS A TRANSCRIPT OF MY INTERVIEW WITH CHERI.
First off, Cheri, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today. I’m excited to hear about your Connect Group – Paint! I’m visualizing the painting parties I see pictures of on facebook. Is that what your group does?
Pretty much. It’s so fun to paint with a group of people!
I can’t imagine pulling that off in a small church. Are you an Art Teacher?
(she laughs) No. none of us are artists, but we have a great time together. We use The Art Sherpa videos found online. They are fabulous!
How was this Paint Party idea born?
Well I went to my first painting class with my daughter a few years ago. Our local library hosted them and we had such a great time.
When we moved to North Carolina, I couldn’t find anything like it and really missed it.
I shared my frustration with a girlfriend who did a little research for me and found The Art Sherpa on You Tube. We got together and had our own little painting session with the video and it was great.
The video was easy to follow and entertaining.
After painting a few times together, we were having so much fun, so we decided to share it with people in the church.
You mentioned this Paint Class falls under something in your church called Connect Groups. What are Connect Groups?
In 2018, our church did some re-visioning and started Connect Groups. The idea is to simply Connect people. To build deeper community.
Some Connect Groups are weekly on Sunday morning – like a Sunday School class. Some are weekdays or week nights like our Women’s Bible Study.
Our group is called Creative Connect – Paint! It meets once a month on Saturday morning.
And people have been responsive?
Oh yes. Everyone loves it. We had 6 people at our first group. 12 at the next. And 15 just last week. Because Saturdays are busy, everyone can’t come each time. Last month 10 women were first-timers!
How do you promote the meetings?
Well, I learned after the first meeting that I need solid RSVPs, because I have to buy canvases ahead of time.
People have to RSVP to me 2 weeks ahead of time with the $10 supply fee.
So I make a postcard with a small print of the painting we will be doing. The picture gets people excited because they see what they will be creating.
So you charge a fee?
Yes, we need to. I think one of the challenges in small churches is a small budget!
We charge a minimal fee ($10) just to cover supplies.
But since most of the painting classes out there cost $40 per class, everyone has been really happy to have a great experience for a fraction of the cost.
Tell us about The Art Sherpa and why you use her videos.
They are amazing! The Art Sherpa makes it so easy. Her name is Cinnamon Cooney, and she actually leads our classes by video.
We applied for a Gratis License which you can learn about on her website. This allows us to legally use her lesson videos for free in our non-profit group.
She has over 600 painting lessons to choose from. And I love that they are organized by difficulty level. But even the easiest level paintings look so great. Everyone is always happy with their creations.
We put her lesson up on a screen, and step by step she teaches us to paint. We pause the video anytime to allow people to catch up and not feel rushed.
The Art Sherpa is friendly, low-key and entertaining. She gives great helpful hints throughout the lesson.
It’s really a great experience. And we don’t need our own expert!
Give us an idea of what your Saturday event looks like.
Sure! We meet once a month on a Saturday morning from 10 am – 1 pm.
A few of us go early to set up – we have to move tables and get supplies ready. I have name tags out for everyone. People bring snacks to share.
At 10:00 we get started with a welcome, an overview of the painting for the day, and a few instructions. Then we get started with the video.
As I said, she walks us through step by step. We use a laptop and project it on larger screen. We pause the video lots, whenever we need to catch up a little.
Sometimes drying time is needed between steps. We have hairdryers and fans to help things dry faster, but sometimes that is a great time to share snacks!
At the end of the painting time, everyone helps clean up. We take individual photos with our creations and usually a group shot too. Very Fun!
Since The Creative Little Church is all about small churches, what makes this is a do-able idea for a small church?
- It’s perfect for a small church because you don’t need big numbers to make it amazing. I started doing these videos with a girlfriend at my dining room table. And we had a great time just the two of us.
- It’s also so easy with The Art Sherpa. You can do these great paintings without hiring an art teacher. No expert needed, because she’s on the screen!
- It’s affordable with a minimal supply charge.
- Other than the paint supplies, all you need is a computer and internet access.
- And women love it! Great therapy. Time away from the hustle of daily life. We get to hang together with great conversation and have fun together.
What do you think is the best thing about this program you started?
People connecting with each other.
Today, with so much social media and online interaction, we often lack real presence in each other’s lives.
Our society is filled with women looking for real connection, real friendship, real face-to-face presence. And we need it.
God designed us for community. That’s the best thing about this group. The fun with art is an added bonus!
What advice can you give to someone starting a group like this in their own church?
- Be really organized with your supplies. I have bins and bags. Everything is labeled.
- You don’t need expensive supplies! (I can’t stress this enough. Craft paint from Walmart. Cheap easels on sale at Hobby Lobby. Disposable end-of-season holiday tablecloths at 10 cents each!)
- Do every painting ahead of time before you do it with a group of people. It is so helpful! (I would never do one without testing it at home first.)
So, down to the details… What supplies do you need and how do you organize them?
Well, our storage space is currently 4 bins in my living room! Plus a few rolling carts that I transport back and forth to church.
I have 4 bins. One for paper products for the snack table. One for easels (we have 20, just in case). And two others for the painting supplies: paint, brushes, canning jars for brush rinsing, disposable table cloths, hairdryers and towels for the drying station.
The rolling carts hold colored pencils, pens, name tags, white classroom chalk, rulers, q-tips, rubber bands. We used sponges for one painting and washi tape for another.
We also use pitchers and pails at tables for dumping dirty paint water and replacing with clear water so we don’t have to go back and forth to the kitchen sink. That’s been a big time saver.
And we have a few box fans at church to help at the drying station.
You mentioned The Art Sherpa has over 600 lessons online! That’s a crazy number! Can you give us a few recommendations to get started?
Yes, I’ve done 8 different painting lessons at home, only 3 with the group. But here’s a few of my favorites!
- Baby’s breath and mason jar
- EASY PEASY fireworks over water
- Sunrise Lighthouse
- Wisteria Willow Tree Q-Tip Painting
You show the lesson videos from a website. What would you say to someone who wants to try this but isn’t technologically inclined?
Oh, you can totally do this.
I am a non-computer, non-techy person. I have called The Art Sherpa number several times.
They are always really friendly. They even happily walked me through the registration when I couldn’t figure it out.
I imagine some people feel intimidated by a painting class saying, “I can’t draw” or “I could never do that.” How would you respond?
Oh they do say that!
But I tell them, yes you can! Anyone can do this.
None of us are artists. None of us can draw! The video takes you step by step. We do it together.
All the paintings look so different from the others but they all end up good. And we have so much fun together. Everyone always ends up with painting they like!
Any parting words?
Yes. Try it! If you are in a small church and you’ve been looking for an event idea, you can totally do this.
- It’s perfect for building relationships.
- It’s a non-churchy event to invite friends and neighbors. Very non-threatening.
- It’s a great way to meet others.
- Everyone has a great time.
For me personally, it’s been a great way to find people who have a similar interest in painting, to share my love for art, and to provide an opportunity for other people to do what they enjoy too!
In the future, I really hope our Creative Connect – Paint! Group becomes “our” group, not just Cheri’s class. My goal is to keep looping people in for more ownership. Keep inviting people to come early to set up. To be in charge of different aspects – like the snack table.
I want everyone to feel more ownership and more connection as we continue with our monthly painting. Sharing the joy!
Thank you for taking time with us, Cheri. I’m excited to see where your encouragement leads the women in your church as well as the people reading here on The Creative Little Church!
If you have questions or comments for Cheri, feel free to post them in the comments below. She’s promised to answer and we’ll stay in touch!