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Painters get in touch with inner artist

By KATIE LEFEBVRE, Globe staff reporter
(Email Katie)


“We’re having fun!” was the mantra of the Work of Art Party on Sept. 18 in the new art room in the fine arts building at Bishop Heelan High School in Sioux City.

Given the recent popularity of paint parties, Bishop Heelan Catholic Schools hosted a painting party that allowed participants to get in touch with their inner artist.

“Anytime you can offer an event that gets people together to enjoy each other, show off a new building and use educational talent in your school, it’s a win, win,” said Janet Flanagan, director of annual giving for Bishop Heelan Catholic Schools.

The Work of Art Party was designed to be a ladies night out. The participants included parents, grandparents, teachers and community members, all supporting Bishop Heelan Catholic Schools.

Art teachers Laurie Dougherty of Bishop Heelan High School and Amy Sobaski of Holy Cross School were on hand to offer their assistance.

“As you know, Heelan is a joy,” said Dougherty. “I could have died in the old art room and I would have been very happy. I loved teaching over there. I skipped to work every day and skipped home. Now, I’ve literally died and gone to heaven. This (new building) is a beautiful place. I am so grateful to the many people who made sacrifices so we could be in this building. This building is used all the time.”

Each participant was provided with brushes, paint and a 16-inch x 20-inch canvas. The women also enjoyed adult beverages, hors d’oeuvres and desserts.

“What is kind of special is Heelan students in the family and consumer sciences class baked a number of desserts for us,” said Flanagan. “In addition, while they (the women) are painting in here, vocal students are singing next door and other students are getting ready for homecoming. The building has just been alive with activity.”

Art lesson

The evening began with an art lesson by Dougherty in which the women learned how to mix color and blend paint and did a paint study to practice before painting on their canvas.

“I am going to treat you like my students,” said Dougherty. “We are going to help you every step of the way. I really want you to learn how to paint.”

Part of the way through the evening, when their paintings needed time to dry, the women were given a tour of the new fine arts building. Dougherty explained what all is included in her new room and how the students will be able to utilize it.

The evening concluded with a group picture of all the finished or almost finished paintings.
Unique, fun idea

Jennifer Clay, a parishioner at Sacred Heart in Sioux City, has two children in Bishop Heelan Catholic Schools – Andrew is a sophomore at Bishop Heelan High School and Elizabeth is an eighth grader at Sacred Heart School.

“I think this is a fantastic idea. It has been around the city for the last couple years,” she said. “I have never done it before and it was mentioned at the (BHCS) auction. It was something fun I could do with girlfriends.”
Mater Dei sixth through eighth grade English teacher, Andrea Bengford, “immediately signed up” when she saw the paint party as an item at the BHCS auction. Her son, Clayton, is a 2013 graduate of Bishop Heelan and her daughter, Leah, is a junior at Bishop Heelan.

“Interaction with friends has been fabulous,” said the Immaculate Conception parishioner. “The artistic side of painting is a challenge for me and a lot of fun. Everyone has their own unique characteristics to it (their painting).”
Event for children

A second event to be offered by Bishop Heelan is designed for children. “Cookies n’ Canvas” is a special painting class for those 8 to 12 years old. It will be held in Heelan’s new fine arts building. The Oct. 18 class will be held at 10:30 a.m. and costs $35 and will include canvas, brushes, paint and cookies. The instructor for the class is Michelle Auen, an elementary art teacher for Bishop Heelan Catholic Schools.
For more information, call Bishop Heelan’s Administrative Office at (712) 252-1350. 

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