Arena’s Hosts “Paint Nite”

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Mark and Annette Plitman recently moved to the area from Maryland where they were familiar with Paint Nite, a national organization that offers participants the opportunity to socialize, enjoy a few cocktails and paint their own acrylic painting at local area bars and restaurants. The company hosts more than 2,000 events each month with more than 65,000 people in attendance, calling the events “the ultimate social painting experience.”

“When we moved here we were surprised to find that there was nothing like Paint Nite in this area, so we decided to give it a shot,” Ms. Plitman explained. “We held the first event and it sold out so quickly, we knew we had a hit on our hands.” Paint Nite’s are held at Smitty MeGee’s in Fenwick, Irish Eyes in Lewes and now Arena’s in Milford every Monday night from 7 to 9 PM. Attendees are advised to arrive by 6:30 PM or earlier if they plan to have dinner before the event begins.

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The $45 ticket includes the canvas, paints and instructions to complete a sample painting provided for potential artists to use as they create their own masterpiece. The program begins with Ms. Plitman explaining the process and requiring each attendee to repeat a pledge. The pledge has the attendees agreeing to relax and have fun, not throw their canvas across the room or use comments like “mine sucks” or “can’t you just do it for me.” Food and drinks are not included as part of the ticket price, but servers circle the painting area taking orders from those who are participating in the class.

Lauren Salb who was with a group of nine others from her workplace said that they thought it would be a fun girl’s night out. She even brought a friend with her who was visiting from Colorado.

“I was afraid my painting would look horrible, but so far it doesn’t,” Ms. Salb said during the 15-minute break during the class designed to allow the background paint dry on the canvas so the artists could add detail touches.

The subject for the June 30 class was “Night and Day” using a painting created by Ms. Plitman. Each class has a different painting and the Plitman’s say they have had many repeat customers. The next class will be entitled “Fireworks.” Those who wish to attend can sign up online at www.paintnite.com. There is also a Facebook page entitled Paint Nite Delaware where those who like the page can find discount codes that are often as good or better than those offered through other online discount sites.

“It is amazing how often we hear people say that they have no talent, yet by the end of the evening they have their very own original painting,” Ms. Plitman said. “Their painting may not look like the sample but that is what we want. We want you to have an original piece of artwork that you created.” Ms. Plitman said that the classes are designed for adults over 21 as there is alcohol offered to those who sign up for the class. However, some venues, like Arenas, allow teens to participate as long as parents are also in attendance. If the venue is not a family-oriented location, only adults over 21 may participate.

“I came with my granddaughter as part of my Christmas present,” said Jean Scott who was diligently painting the branches on her painting. “I had never painted before and it was not something I asked to do. I have no artistic talent at all, but this has been a lot of fun.”