Coffee and Canvas: Students enjoy painting and drinking coffee at bookstore event

The smell of paint and coffee filled the Liberty bookstore Feb. 27 as students created and laughed together at the bookstore’s “Coffee and Canvas” event. 

“It’s a nice escape from the normal routine, and it’s just fun to make an excuse to get together with friends and take a break from school in general,” Liberty student Shannon Teles said. 

The event was organized by bookstore operations manager Clay O’Connell and head cashier and Liberty senior Ava Irish. Although Irish is not an art major, O’Connell quickly discovered her artistic talents and asked her to help lead “Coffee and Canvas.”

“We are always surprised that it’s not going to be her future profession, but you can always come into the bookstore and see her handiwork in the store,” O’Connell said.

“Coffee and Canvas” held two sessions at 5 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. due to the large number of students who signed up. The event was held upstairs next to Starbucks in the corner of the bookstore, where tables and chairs were set up with brushes, paint, coffee and cookies.

“We had like 150 students sign up, and from there they sign up on the form here and pay their $10 fee to secure their spot. If they cancel, we just fill those spots in,” O’Connell said.

The event in the past partnered with Student Activities, but they already had other events planned and the bookstore was unable to find a local company to help partner with them. 

The bookstore decided to make “Coffee and Canvas” their own, holding their first event in November with Irish leading. 

“I know Ava is graduating, but we’ll try and convince her to come back and run these events. She just has a really great way of teaching because if you come across as overbearing then it just kind of defeats the purpose,” O’Connell said.

The event aimed to create an environment where students could come do a fun activity and de-stress from the daily routine of school. To make the activity entertaining and easy to follow, Irish created landscape sketches on the canvases to give students an idea of what they would be working on.

“We try to do it step by step instead of putting a picture up and be like ‘copy this,’ just because that can be really confusing if you really don’t have an idea of what colors should mix together,” Irish explained.

“It’s nice for me to paint other than what I am just assigned to paint for school. A lot of times I have to do something very specific for a project, but this (lets me) be a little bit more relaxed,” Liberty student Emma Meyer said.

The bookstore will host a “Grill and Chill” event on Reading Day (April 29) this year. It will provide students with a relaxed place to eat free food and take a study break before diving into finals.

Woolwine is a feature reporter. Follow her on Twitter.

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