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Find your inner artist at Pho 18

Worldwide movement to bring out inner artists arrives in Thorold

Paint brushes flew in all directions Friday, as diners complemented their meal at Pho 18 Restaurant with some splashes of colour on canvases.

Assisted by artist Jessica Pineda of Paint Nite, Thorold’s Asian Fusion eatery has been hosting the art events monthly for the past few months, and owner Jenny Thai said another one is coming up in January.

“You don’t have to be a professional,” she added.

In fact, most people who attend the popular paint events—which are designed to help unleash people’s inner artist in restaurants and bars across the globe—have never painted before, according to Pineda.

“Everyone is an artist,” she said. “They just don’t realize it. It’s about expressing ourselves and tapping into that talent. There’s healing in art. For the next two hours, whatever stresses they are experiencing, they will forget about it. They will lose themselves in it.” Rather than an art lesson, “It’s more like a painting party,” she explained.

With the help of humour, music and special lighting, she removes the potential for intimidation by guiding aspiring artists step-by-step in a friendly, casual format, beginning the session by asking participants to repeat the mantra: “I promise to relax and have fun, not to judge my painting or the painting of others. I will not say ‘My painting sucks.’ I promise not to throw my canvas across the room. I will not drink from the dirty paint water.”

Pineda told ThoroldNews, “I’m originally from Toronto and started doing it there. It originated in Boston and has expanded worldwide,” from the U.K. to the U.S. to Argentina.

“I have the license to operate here in the Niagara region. We do it throughout the Niagara region at local restaurants, bars and wineries. Originally it was for adults only, but we’ve expanded to doing family events for adults with children six years and older.”

In addition to painting on canvas, “We’ve done painting on wine glasses,” said Pineda. Other types of artistic parties include opportunities for participants to create their own terrariums, and candles.

Pineda also accesses the healing factor of art to help men who are recovering from addiction at Wayside House in St. Catharines.

“Every two months, I offer them a therapeutic event free of charge," she explained. “Usually, the guys are not as excited about it as women, but these guys get so excited about it. They feel like it’s a sense of accomplishment when they paint it. They demonstrate to themselves that they can do anything they put their minds to.”
Pho 18 Restaurant is located at the corner of Clairmont and Ormond Street in Thorold.

For more information, visit Pho 18 or Paint Nite Niagara on Facebook, or click here.