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Boost Well-Being Through Social Painting


Article by Karen Kwong

Photography by Karen Kwong & Provided

I love acrylic painting! There are many similarities between painting and photography, although the processes are deemed to be reversed - photography captures a visible scene all at once first then we edit the photo to remove unwanted distractions; while painting starts with a blank canvas then we add various elements to it, layer by layer.

The paint and sip industry, or referred as social painting, has been popular and rapidly growing since 2007. Most studios running this business model are franchised (source: Wikipedia). My latest favorite place is Pinot's Palette, East Brunswick. During the pandemic, I have participated in two of their social painting events - one virtual and one outdoor under a tent. It is an excellent way to relieve my stress and promote positive attitude.

Above: My Painting from Pinot's Palette East Brunswick's Mother's Day Virtual Painting Event

Pinot's Palette, East Brunswick was opened in March, 2016 under Lillian Feldman's ownership. Lillian has always been a creative person and has been in love with art ever since she was a little girl.

I would always doodle, paint, draw and create things out of nothing. I wanted to go to art school but my parents said a BIG NO. They didn't want me to be the stereotypical artist begging for money with a Styrofoam cup. They told me to have art as my hobby and major in business which is what I ended up doing with a minor in marketing. Fast forwarding all my jobs in between I landed a sales job at JP Morgan Chase and fell in love dealing with people and selling products/services. I am competitive by nature and quickly got promoted up the ranks and eventually managed new builds for various banks leading branch personnel and teaching how to sell. But my art itch was still always there. Ironically, my branch (Citibank on Rt.18) closed and I was upset and needed a night out. My friend said lets go to Pinot's Palette in Manalapan and I fell in love once again. This checked off all my passions and interests in one opportunity which I never had before. After a year of research and build-out my studio finally opened in March, 2016.

Above: Me (Left) and Lillian (Right)

The studio offers premier painting experience for all ages. Customers do not need any prior painting knowledge or practice before they attend one of their classes.

COVID-19 forced the studio to pivot in directions they didn't offer in the past so they can continue to serve people who will enjoy and benefit from social painting. The first product that was born was their virtual paintings. This allowed their customers the comfort/safety to paint from their home while their kits were delivered to their doorstep. This new angle not only provided their regulars to continue painting but also reached a new customer base that always wanted to try and customers across the country. For those who were not in their delivery foot print the studio shipped as well. 

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Here is a fun recording of me painting at their Mother's Day virtual event from the comfort of my own house. It was such a great self-care gift for me and really helped me to buffer against my anxiety at the time.

Another product born was their take home kits. Customers were provided with all the materials needed to complete the masterpiece along with a printed set of step by step instructions. These kits are designed for kids and adults and everything is included: paints, brushes, canvas, disposable apron and a paint plate.

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The studio currently has started allowing private parties inside the studio, with new guidelines enforced. A mask has to be worn at all times and currently no food or drinks are allowed in the studio. However, they do set up a table right outside the studio if the host would like to eat or drink with their guests.

Creativity has no limits! Besides painting on canvas, you can also paint on wine bottles, wood and tote bags. The studio also teaches how to make chunky blankets out of yarn.

Going forward Pinot's Palette, East Brunswick will continue offering virtual classes, pre-ordered classes, kids virtual camps, and private parties. They will monitor new guidelines closely as COVID-19 updates occur, and continue sanitizing and keeping their studio safe for their customers and staff.

Another aspect that makes Pinot's Palette, East Brunswick so special is their amazing staff!

My staffs are all amazing and original hires! ( except one who was a transfer from another studio). I knew I hired the right people when they quickly stepped up in the infantile stage of the studio, as I just had found out that I was pregnant at that time. They were able to continue the customer service, quality and fun experience for our customers!
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According to an article by Fox Hill, painting sharpens our mind, nurtures emotional growth, and delivers numerous health benefits. The Conversation also cited an article stating that art becomes more central to our lives in the time of crisis and isolation. I personally have benefited so much from participating in social painting events, especially during this difficult time. I highly encourage everyone to give social painting a try and give your well-being a boost!

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Above: My Painting at One of Pinot's Palette East Brunswick's Painting Events

Pictures in this article are either taken by Karen (the author) or provided by Lilian (owner of Pinot's Palette, East Brunswick). 

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