Pineville Paints the Town

 

Arts Center Fosters Community and Creativity
by Lisa Moore

In Pineville, folks are literally painting the town red. And yellow. And blue and green.

Since the Cultural and Civic Arts Center of Pineville (CCAC) opened in 2007, people of all ages have had a place to explore their creativity through ongoing classes, workshops, festivals and special events. The center also provides support for emerging and established artists as well.

Lee Baumgarten, Executive DirectorFounder and Executive Director Lee Baumgarten, who grew up in Pineville, hopes the area will one day be known a distinct arts community much like NoDa.

“The Arts and Science Council and the Town of Pineville produced a long term study concerning the arts in the southeast area of Charlotte/ Mecklenburg County and worked directly with artists in the area to determine needs and possible methods of addressing those needs. The council determined that Pineville is an ideal location to support a hub of community activities,” says Baumgarten, a professional artist studio artists who specializes in sculpture and oil painting.

His vision and dedication are now visible in the programs he has created at the non-profit, volunteer-based organization, and he invites the public to experience art in unique and inspiring ways, regardless of experience level.

Offerings this year have ranged from affordable kids and adults oil painting classes, jewelry making and pottery workshops and pre-ballet classes, to musical jam sessions and informative lectures from leaders in the community.

The quarterly CCAC fundraiser Paint ‘Til You Drop is one of the most popular events. Participants get to spend the evening under the tutelage of professional artists to create a personal piece of art. No experience is necessary and all materials are provided.

Although Carol Newman had experience with drawing and sculpting, she had never tried painting. She said Paint ‘Til You Drop was a great way to be introduced to painting because it was so fun and everyone involved was very supportive.

“Working with oil paint was so different than anything I had tried in the past. One rule with oil painting is that you can always change the painting if something in it doesn’t suit you. So the ability to be flexible is very liberating, thereby creating a unique experience,” says Newman who has continued taking classes and recently finished her sixth painting.

Newman says her experience at CCAC has inspired her to pursue art. “Art and creating art are a crucial part of my life. I intend to earn a living in a way that is associated with art, either by selling my creations or obtaining employment in the art industry or both.”

Baumgarten hopes to branch into the civic community by expanding the role of artists through business development support and to engage community members in dialogue, experiences, and learning. He would also like to increase the economic viability of artists and art businesses in the area. He is pleased with the community response CCAC has received.

“Art is the vehicle that ties all of our social activities and projects together and the public is responding with a resounding ‘cool!’

Kids and adults alike are finding their way to our door and most people instantly identify with our purpose and want to get involved.”

To learn more about CCAC visit www.ccacpineville.org.

One Response to “ Pineville Paints the Town ”

  1. Lee Baumgarten Says:

    I always keep a standing “Google Alert” open with my name on it. I have NEVER had another Lee Baumgarten pop up! I am Lee Baumgarten, Phoneix, Arizona. Director of Operations at Phoenix International Raceway