Painting Your Way Towards a Sense of Community
By Madison Lecowitch Contributing Writer
The Center for Student Involvement at UMF will be holding monthly Paint Nights in The Landing to promote creativity, inclusivity and community. Juliana Burch, a senior at UMF, is the host of paint night.
Burch’s job is to select a painting to recreate, and to show students how to paint it with step-by-step instructions. “I’ll go on the internet and I’ll look at paint night photos on google images to kinda see what people do, and I try to find one that I think would be fun and that I would want to have on my wall,” Burch said. “I try to pick one that I feel people would want to do that might help them to feel better.”
Burch is majoring in English, with a double minor in International and global studies and film studies. She explains that painting has alway been a passion of hers. “I’ve always really loved art,” Burch said. “It’s such a great way to shut off a part of your brain. The worrying and the anxiety and the stress and everything that college and life puts on you.”
Although Burch enjoys all things art, painting doesn’t come very easy for her. Burch is color blind, which affects her ability to see specific colors. “I was in a bit of an accident when I was younger in the garage, and it resulted in a minor explosion, and basically the way I see color now is I can see green fine, but I can’t see blue and yellow,” Burch said. “Blue and yellow kind of blend in to green, so where everyone can see the green spectrum, the blue spectrum and the yellow spectrum, they’re all one long spectrum of green for me.”
Burch really tries to focus on making others happy. At the first Paint Night, students painted a sunset with cacti and shrubbery. “We’re in the middle of winter. It’s cold and it’s dark and it’s sad, so I wanted to do a sunset or sunrise because I feel those fill people with hope and happiness,” Burch said. “I thought that might be a nice way to warm people up with how cold winter is.”
Burch explained that Paint Night was formed to bring UMF together as a whole. “I’m a Community Assistant in the residence halls, and we host programs every semester to try and encourage kids to get out of their room and meet people and engage in, and kind of foster that sense of community that Farmington has,” Burch said.
Amethyst Leeman, a freshman, enjoyed the engaging community atmosphere that was created for Paint Night. “It was fun, and I liked hanging out with friends and seeing everyone’s finished product,” Leeman said. “I thought Juliana was fun, she really engaged the audience.”
The first paint night had about 24 attendees. Burch hopes that more people will show up for the next paint night. “I would love to try to make this a bigger event, especially if we have the funding for it,” Burch said. “I don’t want to turn people away from wanting to paint.”
In an email interview, Sydney Goodridge, a student on campus, explained that she chose to participate in Paint Night because it’s a creative outlet for beginning artists. “I participated in Paint Night because it seemed fun and simple enough for a novice,” Goodridge said. “I loved how Juliana created a pleasant atmosphere and easy-to-follow instructions.”
The next Paint Night will take place Monday, Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. Burch’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org, and she encourages people to reach out to her for tips and suggestions on what they would like to paint next, or any music suggestions they have for the upcoming paint nights.