Last night, the Visual Arts Society (Vis Arts) room at the top of House Six was an unusual scene to behold. Approximately 70 students were splayed across the room, cross-legged on the floor or snugly squeezed around a table, each with a paintbrush in one hand and a cool glass of vin ordinaire (Tesco’s iconic €4 Revero) in the other. At first glance the scene could be mistaken for a particularly civilised house party, or perhaps a primary school art class. This wholesome picture of creativity and inebriation is, in fact, one of Vis Arts’ longest running events: Paint n Sip.
The concept behind the affair is simple. People get together, drink wine, and paint pictures. It’s an ideal way for the average student – who, let’s face it, will never have the organisational skill to buy paints and set aside an hour to use them – to engage with visual art. The often daunting, pretentious nature of the arts is simplified for two hours, and for once, the process of creation is not shrouded in angst.
The atmosphere in the room is relaxed as everyone drinks and paints, but the overwhelming topic of discussion is the sheer popularity of the event. Half an hour into the session, the crowd has spilled out of the designated venue and into the hallway. This Paint n Sip evening is clearly better attended than previous events of its kind.
The Chairperson of Vis Arts, Aisling Clark, says that this apparent increase in popularity could be down to the society’s fresh new image, as she’s made it her mission to remake the Vis Arts brand. “It’s an old society, 50 years old, and it’s never really had a makeover”, she told The University Times. Well, I don’t know how much Trinny and Susannah this girl has been watching, but clearly she knows a thing or two about how to pull off a dramatic makeover. Vis Arts tote bags have ruled the Arts Block smoking area all week, and Botticelli’s Venus, purple and pensive, is now the unmistakable stamp of this up-and-coming society.
The success of last night’s event is sure to continue throughout the year, and Clark promises at least one Paint n Sip per month. In light of the huge turnout that surprised the Vis Arts committee themselves, future events will be held in a larger venue to accommodate the surge in interest the society is enjoying. While the first night was a little packed, and there were a few inevitable dashes to Tesco for more Revero, I’m sure that the events will be bigger and better from here. For an evening of creativity free from pretension and expectations, be sure to drop by the next Paint n Sip event.