Painting with a Purpose

Painting with a Purpose

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Co-Creation Artworks participants learn to paint while benefiting Purposeful Painting

Last year for Christmas, Mari Knight and her partner Lou Denning didn’t give each other gifts. Rather, they decided to give the money to their friends who were facing difficult times. After sharing what they were doing, others wanted to pitch in as well. Soon, their donations grew exponentially and they decided it was a perfect motive to start a non-profit, called Purposeful Painting.


The focus of the non-profit is to give a brighter future to hard-working women facing challenges. “Through my love of art, yoga and community,” says Knight, “I hope to raise money to give these women the helping hand they need.”


Knight also helps brighten lives through painting courses. “I would rather paint than do anything,” she laughs. “But I discovered others had a desire to paint, but didn’t have the confidence.” As a result, Co-Creation Artworks (CCA) was born.

Co-Creation Artworks is a class offered to aspiring artists. All participants come to class with an inspiration that hangs next to the blank canvas. After painting for half an hour, they move to the next painting and so on until everyone has finished their creation.


Knight explains Co-Creation Artworks as a lesson of letting go. “We are all artists in some way and some of us have a hard time letting go of what we perceive the outcome of what the painting should be. Others have no problem moving to the next canvas,” she explains. “It truly is an experience to watch and participate in. Some say it’s meditation with a paintbrush; others say it’s a spiritual experience. Each person takes away and gives something different to each piece of work. It’s Co-Creation at its finest.”


The artist has the choice to take their artwork home or donate it to Purposeful Painting to be auctioned at one of the fundraisers. The cost for an individual class is $40 and couple classes are $50. All proceeds from the classes go to Purposeful Painting.


Previously, Purposeful Painting gave to needy women in Knight’s personal network. Now, the organization gives to a variety of women, many of whom Knight has never met. “It is a board decision who we give money to,” she explains. “We don’t have the resources to give to someone with addiction problems, but we can help the woman helping herself.”


Their next fundraiser, “It’s All About the Art,” will be at the downtown-based Betty Bar on October 19 and 20. On Saturday, from 7-11:30 p.m., they will have what they call “Live Co-Creation Artworks,” where three masterpieces painted by a group of artists (including acclaimed local artist Clara Hackavy) will be auctioned off. There will also be a silent auction for other CCA pieces that are on display. On Sunday from 11a.m.-3p.m., you can enjoy brunch with a bloody mary bar, as well as artists who will be signing their one-of-a-kind artwork.


There is no admission fee for the upcoming fundraiser. A portion of the food and drink sales will go to Purposeful Painting. You can visit to learn more about signing up for a class, donating money, volunteering or purchasing artwork.