Visual Fringe, the visual arts division of the Orlando Fringe Festival, is bringing back its popular cocktail and painting class and hosting a variety of other events for the second week of the festival.
The cocktail and painting class, which debuted last year, is a paid event where participants are guided by an artist in creating a chosen painting while enjoying a cocktail of their choice.
Visual Fringe producer Melanie Leon said last year’s event received positive feedback, paving the way for a return this year.
“Everybody needs to sit next to each other and have a drink and chat and laugh and get to know each other,” Leon said. “It was really a happy time.”
Leon said students would come in, go to the bar to choose a cocktail, and be given a canvas, brush, and paint.
“The teacher will then walk her through creating what she chose this year – a close-up of a very colorful rainbow guitar,” Leon said. “It’s very fringed.”
Local artist Becca Koopferstock, who leads the class, said that class time should be enjoyable and relaxing.
“My goal with this is that if you’re going to follow what I’m teaching, you’ll probably have a painting that’s quite similar to what I’m painting,” Koopferstock said. “But even if you just want to go out and do your own thing, it’s time to create something.”
Koopferstock said her favorite thing about the class is that it’s something different that can be accomplished together.
“It’s something unique to do with your friends, your spouse, or your kids,” Koopferstock said.
Visual Fringe Associate Producer Megan Markham, who attended the event last year, said Koopferstock is really good at teaching the class.
“I did one last year and it didn’t look terrible,” Markham said. “And I’m not a painter.”
Koopferstock said visual arts are something you can learn.
“The more you do this, the better you get,” Koopferstock said. “So if that makes people feel like they’re connected to being able to paint something because we’ve walked them step-by-step, hopefully it’ll help them on their journey to keep going if they want to.”
The Visual Fringe Art Gallery, which opened to the public on May 17th, will remain open through May 29th.
The gallery, located in the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, features pieces by local artists that are for sale – 100% of money raised is returned to the artists.
Leon said the gallery is like the theater portion of the festival in that it is 100% scrupulous.
“We don’t pick pieces based on how long you’ve been an artist or what it looks like,” Leon said. “If you want to submit and be a part of it, you can be a part of it, which allows us to support artists at every point in their artistic journey.”
Markham said the gallery has sold 53 pieces so far.
“I think we might have double that,” Markham said. “And we’re not even halfway through, so that’s neat.”
Markham said she’s looking forward to the gallery coming back in full this year, rather than being half back like last year.
“Last year we were online and we sold a decent amount of pieces and the artists got paid that they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise,” Markham said. “But it wasn’t real, big Fringe.”
Visual Fringe also unveiled its new headquarters earlier this year, officially named Visual Fringe HQ, located in the Orlando Shakes Patron’s Room.
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Visual Fringe HQ features crafts, live events, shows, selfie wallpapers, an artist vending machine, the art market, and even a creative lounge to hang out.
Leon said she’s honored to be part of the process that will see Visual Fringe grow by leaps and bounds this year.
“We have more events than ever, we have a venue that we haven’t had in years,” Leon said. “And to watch people develop this connection to the festival and to the arts is really powerful for me.”
The cocktail and painting class takes place on May 29th at 7pm at the Play What You Can Stage at Lowndes Shakespeare Centre. Purchase a ticket at virtualfringe.com/orlandofringe/show/210537/Cocktail-and-Paint-Class?occurrence=2022-05-29.
For a full listing of Visual Fringe shows and events, visit orlandofringe.org/may/visual-fringe-in-festival.
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