Local artist Bonnie McQuillan shares her painting skills with students

After finishing their pizza, students show off their creativity with these paintings. With help from the instructors, they hope to have a blue night sky, a bright yellow moon and some beautiful trees. Photo credit: Justin Hancock-Lefebour

For over 17 years, local artist Bonnie McQuillan has inspired thousands of students through her art. With her rise in popularity in 2016, McQuillan started attending events to help beginner painters.

“It’s a fun thing to do,” McQuillan said. “I think the most important thing to realize is a lot of people get caught up in the intimation of the skillset, ‘You have to be really good at this,’ but you don’t necessarily. It’s not always about technical abilities, it can just be about fun.”

Over 30 students came by the AC Hub to make friends, grab a slice of pizza and paint on their own canvas on the evening of Oct. 3.

McQuillan said it’s terrific to know she’s inspired others to believe in themselves and pursue their artistic dreams.

“A lot of times with these types of events, it’s people who either probably wouldn’t take a course, but they do it because their friends are doing it,” McQuillan said. “It’s a fun, social thing to do. What’s awesome is that what they get out of it is they suddenly realize that, ‘Hey, this is easier than I thought.’”

Students were given a blank canvas to make their own masterpieces, a wide selection of paint and a choice of either pepperoni or vegetarian pizza to feast on.

Matthew Durocher, a bachelor of technology (digital health) student heard about this event from his friends. He said he’s not the best at visual arts and is more of a musician, but he was excited to paint for the first time while enjoying a slice of pizza.

“There’s food, and it’s just an easy way to try something new,” Durocher said. “I’ve never painted before, but there’s literally nothing to lose.”

“I think we’ve done this event three times. Last year was the first time we did it,” said Samantha Therrien, an event co-ordinator for the AC Hub. “But whenever we did it, it’s been a huge hit so we just kept at it and students really enjoy it.”

Therrien said events like these are a good way to learn different ways to make connections.

“They get pizza, they like to use their creative muscles, make a cute little masterpiece for themselves, but also make new friends and get social,” Therrien said. “Get involved in a fun way, but also in a way that we like give them things. We’re here for you and we just want to provide an open space for students to connect.”

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