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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Tipsy Picassos changes the game for art classes


A painting party hosted by Tipsy Picassos. Tipsy Picassos hosts private parties for groups of ten or more in customers’ homes, restaurants and other venues.

In Tucson’s art community, Tipsy Picassos is known as an innovative business that brings people together for a common activity: Painting.

The art-class business strives to bring out the Picasso in every participant, welcoming people of all skill levels to grab a brush and create interpretations of the artwork displayed in class.

Tipsy Picassos hosts private parties, group parties and other events. An instructor, all art supplies and a fun, relaxed environment for creativity to expand is provided. All participants have to do is bring their favorite wine and a positive attitude.

Owner Jennifer Johnson, a California native and UA alumna, combined her undergraduate degree in painting and her master’s degree in art education with her business intuition to start Tipsy Picassos. According to Johnson, the business took off two years ago and has been going strong ever since.

“I wanted to make sure it felt more like a social gathering so I decided to have about 20 to 40 people who are excited to paint meet at a bar instead of a studio,” Johnson said. “After playing around with many different names, my sister actually came up with Tipsy Picassos.”

Johnson and her staff make it a point to diminish the intimidation that can be present for beginners by making the atmosphere extremely relaxed. 

The canvases used by the participants are often pre-sketched so that they can focus on adding their own artistic flare rather than worrying about the details of the basic shape.

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Events are hosted all around Tucson in different restaurants and usually offer a perk just for participating. For example, at the “Desert Sunrise Happy Hour” event at OBON Sushi Bar Restaurant last April, painters had the opportunity to enjoy drinks and specials such as sushi rolls and cocktails for only $5.

Johnson said that her favorite events are the Harry Potter-inspired ones.

“I am a big Harry Potter nerd, and apparently so are a lot of people around Tucson,” Johnson said. “Some of our most popular events are ‘Paint Your Patrones’ and ‘Starry Night over Hogwarts.’”

Tipsy Picassos taps into the student market at the UA by capturing the attention of those involved in Greek life. The business holds events showcasing the fun and stimulating bonding experiences of painting to numerous sororities on campus.

Ariana Alexander, a recent graduate from the UA, participated in an event hosted by Tipsy Picassos this past February. During Kappa Alpha Theta’s Moms’ Weekend, sorority members and their mothers enjoyed an exciting afternoon of painting and drinking.

“During our hour-long party, we got to enjoy a class where we were painting a jar holding a bouquet of flowers,” Alexander said. “Although it was obvious that some of us were not as good as the others, the instructors always reminded you that there are different interpretations of art and to focus on your interpretation.”

However, for those who really insist on perfecting their work, the instructors will offer helpful advice on improving at the skill of painting.

For Alexander, Tipsy Picassos was a memorable experience. She said that for those 21 and older, drinking wine during the experience made the realization of their amatuare painting skills a little bit more bearable.

The instructor explained her train of thought while she painted for the participants during the class. Alexander said this was one of the best parts of the experience, making it personal by hearing what was going on in the instructor’s mind while she painted.

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When asked if she would recommend this unique opportunity to a friend, Alexander affirmed enthusiastically, and that everyone should get to experience how fun this is.

Tipsy Picassos turns most of their painting parties into fundraising opportunities as well. Ten dollars per participant is donated to an animal rescue organization and to the Alzheimer’s Association. The business has raised $10,000 for these organizations so far, and Johnson only sees that number growing exponentially as the business expands.

With the support or a fun, creative atmosphere and a little bit of liquid courage, anyone can create a memorable piece of art. Grab some friends or family members and book a private class, or head to one of the upcoming events featured on the Tipsy Picassos Facebook page.

Follow Lauren Grifol on Twitter.

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