Colorful event at Biggs Park Mall could become monthly tradition

First Posted: 3/27/2014

LUMBERTON — Before the paint had even dried, the manager of Biggs Park Mall decided that Thursday night’s Paint for a Purpose event will become a monthly tradition at the shopping center.

For $35, locals were able to participate in Paint for a Purpose, during which attendees were treated to hors d’oeuvre, wine and an art lesson from artist Lauren Huff. Proceeds from the event, which managed to attract 17 would-be artists, were donated to the Robeson County Arts Council.

“I was thrilled when they told me they were donating to the Robeson Arts Council,” said Mary Ann Masters, president of the organization. “The Biggs family has always been so supportive of the arts.”

The event was inspired by similar art happenings that Huff and Chelsea Biggs, the manager of the mall, had seen in larger cities. Huff, who graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in interior design, hosted a similar event while living in Boone.

Though the mall was just shy of attracting its goal of 20 participants, Biggs declared the evening a success and is planning on holding the event indefinitely on the last Thursday of each month. The next Paint for a Purpose event will be April 24, with the proceeds going to the Gibson Cancer Center’s Justina Ford Fund.

“It is a great chance for local artists to show what they can do, and most of all, to have fun,” Biggs said.

Huff appeared equally pleased with the turnout, noting that because she seeks to work with each attendee individually, having too many people participating may have been overwhelming.

“This is such a great group of people who have shown up,” Huff said. “I am hearing a lot of laughter and seeing a lot of smiles, which is really the whole point.”

Attending artists ranged in experience and skill level, with some of them having painted all of their lives, while others considered themselves novices. Each artist was asked to paint his or her own interpretation of a purple vase with colorful flowers.

“My friend told me about this,” said Gayle Oliver, who is retired. “I don’t consider myself an artist at all, but I think it is important to get out and do things.”

Participants were allowed to take their acrylic paintings home, though not everyone was sure what they would do with their works of art once they were finished.

“I have no idea,” said Ginny Callihan, who had also heard about the event from a friend. “I guess it depends on what it looks like when I get it home.”

Those interested in participating next month should visit Biggs Park Mall office or call Biggs at 910-740-3030.