Campus paint nights offer an evening of connection and creativity

By: Kailyn Louka

Two recent paint nights at Red River College Polytechnic’s Notre Dame and Exchange District campuses gave students and staff the opportunity to relax, meet new people, and get away from the stress of work and assignments.

The Red River College Students’ Association and Campus Well-Being unit organized the events and provided necessary supplies to participants. Students and staff did not need any prior painting or art experience to participate.

Local artist Kisa MacIsaac went to the Winnipeg campuses to guide students and staff through their own paintings. After two hours, everyone took home their own completed artwork.

“It’s an opportunity to step away from the busyness of life, the stress of assignments, [and] deadlines. Just be still, be present, have fun, and laugh,” MacIsaac said.

MacIsaac incorporates Indigenous teachings into her guided paint night experiences to educate and uplift participants.

“I try to share some teachings related to my Indigenous ancestry…on how putting things on pause in our lives can help us find stillness and balance and healing. That’s really something ancient…human beings have been making art forever,” MacIsaac said.

Paint night instructor Kisa MacIsaac shows students and staff how to create a colourful background for their paintings at RRC Polytech’s Exchange District Campus on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. (Kailyn Louka)

Kristi Dorian is the recreation and wellness coordinator of RRC Polytech’s Campus Well-Being unit. She said that paint nights are a great way for students and staff to connect with each other in an environment outside of the classroom.

“It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, what age you are, what gender…everybody can come and do some painting,” Dorian said.

Students often go to paint night alone, but make new connections at the event with people from other classes, Dorian said.

“One of the main benefits of paint nights is connecting with other people who are interested in creativity,” said Dorian.

Paint nights are not the only event that Campus Well-Being has organized—it has hosted other events like guided yoga and Movies for Mental Health.

More paint nights will happen throughout the year, Dorian said.