MAL Hosts Adult Coloring Events

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colorBy Terry Rogers

On Monday, January 11, 2016, Mispillion Art League held the fourth Color Me Happy, Color Me Relaxed Event at the gallery on North Walnut Street. The events were created in August by member Pearl Burbage in response to the growing popularity of adult coloring books.

“The Mispillion Art League offers art opportunities for persons of all ages,” said Judy Struck. “Children often jump into an art experience with eagerness to learn and create. Adults? Not so much. When encouraged to sign up for a class at MAL, we often hear ‘Me? I can’t even draw stick people!’” The Color Me Happy event is designed for adults who do not know how to draw or don’t feel comfortable or confident enough to draw.

The event is designed as a way for adults to socialize and have an activity they can do with others. It is a relaxing and fun atmosphere where participants can enjoy a glass of wine, nibble snacks and slip back into their childhood pastime of coloring. MAL provides a variety of adult-themed coloring books that include patterns for all interests.

Adult coloring has grown in popularity over the past few years. In fact, a recent CNN report noted that Crayola had recently launched a set of markers, colored pencils and a collection of adult coloring books called “Coloring Escapes.” The trend is based on research released by Johns Hopkins University and other experts that say that coloring is an alternative to meditation.

“Coloring brings us back to a simpler time,” said Dr.Nikki Martinez, a psychologist and author of “7 Reasons Adult Coloring Books are great for your Mental, Emotional and Intellectual Health. “An activity that can invoke the easier and happier times of childhood. A time when we did not have many responsibilities, and could just do something because we wanted to, for the pure joy of it. To be able to tap into this time and these emotions is cathartic and enjoyable. It can take a person out of present stresses and worries for even a few hours at a time.”

Research indicates that the time and focus that adult coloring takes helps an individual remove the focus from negative issues and habits, focusing them in a safe and productive way. Coloring also offers intellectual benefits, utilizing areas of the brain that enhance focus and concentration. The process of coloring uses both sides of the brain as someone who is coloring must think about balance, color choices, applying colored pencil to paper. The process assists in problem solving and fine motor skills.

Ms. Burbage began the Color Me Happy events after hearing interest from friends in and around Milford. For $15, adults who are 21 and older may spend the evening coloring pages from books entitled Modern Mandalas, Amazon Animals, Art Deco or Nature and Fashion Designs. MAL provides all materials. The events are held at the gallery from 6:30 to 8 PM. In addition to the January 11 event, events are scheduled for February 8, March 7 and April 11 as well.

The Mispillion Art League also hosts children’s Cartooning and Creativity classes, instructed by Michael Fleishman, a nationally known artist and author of illustration, graphic design and creativity books. Fleishman is also a retired college professor who has been cartooning since he was in first grade.

“Even in high school and college, I certainly was no football hero,” he laughs. “I was a dedicated rock–and-roller, but mostly there was art,” he said. Fleishman’s Cartooning and Creativity will be taught in February and March for 4-week after-school sessions. Located at the Riverwalk Center for the Arts on North Walnut Street in downtown Milford, the classes can be reserved online at www.mispillionarts.org. For more information, families are encouraged to contact Erica Rae, the gallery Manager, or Judy Struck, MAL Board President, at 302-430-7646 or info@mispillionarts.org.