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Participants at an Agawam Community Artists and Artisans workshop this month show off their scratchboard art.

Reminder Publishing submitted photo

Since December, the Agawam Community Artists and Artisans have been hosting “paint and sip”-style workshops to raise money for local food banks. Known as “Art with a Heart,” ACAA President Ceil Rossi described them as a “two-and-a-half-hour paint party.”

At the workshops, community artists volunteer their time to guide people in making a painting. Generally, it’s acrylics on canvases, said Rossi, which are usually bigger than 6 by 6 inches. Past workshop titles include “Bird’s Nest,” “Grapes Still Life,” “Seascape” and “Flower Power.”

“They’re very simple projects,” she said. “We just want to introduce people to painting and art.”

“Art with a Heart” participants create scratchboard art at a recent workshop.
Reminder Publishing submitted photo

Participants go home with a piece of art they made themselves, and the $15 fee goes to food banks in Agawam, West Springfield, Southwick, Springfield and Westfield. As part of the collaboration, the ACAA sends $100 a month to the food banks, regardless of how much money it takes in.

The ACAA hosts “Art with a Heart” alongside its normal workshops. Last week, the nonprofit hosted a scratchboard workshop, which was attended by 20 people, and raised money to fund its Gloria McLellan Scholarship fund. Named for a founder of the nonprofit, the scholarship is given to high school seniors pursuing a college degree in visual arts.

All workshops are a success for the nonprofit. Space is limited to 15 to 20 people and usually that limit is reached, Rossi said.

“We hit the top all the time,” she said, “and if we do, then we tell them they can come to the next workshop.”

Everyone is invited to take part in the workshops, Rossi said, although she advises participants to leave the kids at home. She also noted that some ACAA events require prior arts experience. She also advised people not to be nervous, as instructors are very good at teaching people their craft.

“Everybody is nervous about their art skills when they go in,” she said. “You will learn from the instructor, because the instructors are professionals.”

She added that participants, “would be very comfortable with our instructors and they should have no fear of asking questions and producing something because the instructor will guide them along.”

Art with a Heart workshops take place on Thursdays and Saturdays at the Daily Grind Coffee House & Cafe, 568 College Hwy., Southwick. The next workshop will take place 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. May 18, and will involve painting wine glasses. Space is limited to 15 people. Another workshop is scheduled for June 22, which will involve painting dandelions. The July 27 “Art with a Heart” project is decoupage jewelry. Flyers announcing upcoming dates are posted regularly at facebook.com/groups/agawamcommunityartistsandartisans.

Advance registration is required. Those interested can download a registration form at agawamarts.com or call Rossi at 413-207-1247. More information on the workshops is available at the website.

ACAA also offers art classes and open studio time at the Daily Grind. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 8, Robin Fernandes will lead a class on mandala painting. The cost for the class is $25; students can bring their own dotting tools or pay $15 for supplies. The next two classes on July 13 and Aug. 10 will give an introduction to acrylic paints and brushes, and an exploration of acrylic painting styles. The cost is $25 per class, plus $10 for supplies if needed.

Drop-in open studio time costs $5 and affords artists a chance to work on their own projects in a supportive, social setting. Open studios take place 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on June 13, July 18 and Aug. 15.

tlederer@thereminder.com | + posts