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Artists paint picture for recovery

For years, Carol Mann has shared the gift of watercolor painting with her students. Now her students are returning that gift, sharing their watercolors to raise money for Mann and fellow artist Sue Beck’s Lemonade Art Gallery in downtown Washington.

One of Mann’s newest watercolor students, Cypress Landing resident Pat Kinlaw, is rallying other students to donate original pieces of their artwork for a student display and sale once Lemonade reopens — a reopening date is set in July. Proceeds from the sale of these pieces will be donated to support the gallery.

“She’s so good to her students, and she’s given her time so freely online during this,” Kinlaw said. “I’ve asked people to donate some items we’ve painted to the gallery to help close the gap between the overhead that (Lemonade) must be experiencing during this time.”

Mann has many art students — so many in fact, that her last several classes were full and, new to painting, Kinlaw opted to take three private painting lessons from Mann.

“I retired not quite two years ago, and I’ve always had an interest in it but I’ve never had time to do it,” Kinlaw said.

Since all classes were called to a halt with Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home order intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Mann has been assisting her students’ painting efforts from afar.

“I am coaching anyone who needs help via email. And I am sending out weekly challenges to all 56 of them. Last week, I had them paint any tree … looking for them to make good use of warm and cool colors. This week, I’m having them paint their own hand … looking for good use of hard and soft lines,” Mann wrote in an email. “I want to keep them engaged and help fill up some of the dead time we are all experiencing.”

Kinlaw said he sees the Lemonade fundraiser as a long-term recovery effort, as other efforts take precedence in the midst of the pandemic.

“There are lot of people who need care and services right now and that should be our priority, plus all the people on the front line. I see it as short-term and long-term (recovery). For me, Lemonade is in the long-term,” Kinlaw said. “There’s a lot of things that need to be supported, but, again, in the long-term, this is important for the community. And for many us, being in seclusion is a godsend — being able to paint and get feedback.”

Kinlaw said in three days, he’s received 11 confirmations for donations from fellow art students but expects to have more. Those interested in participating can email him at patkinlaw@comcast.net.

Mann said she, Beck and Lemonade Art Gallery plan to come back — better than ever — once the virus has abated, and she’s grateful for the support of her students.

“I am so touched by Pat’s gesture and the positive response he’s getting from my students,” Mann said.