Local woman mixes art classes and fundraising in ‘Painting with Purpose’
It was almost 20 years ago that Linda Carr decided to attend painting classes with a group of friends at Ozarks Technical Community College in Springfield. “At that time, it was called tole painting,” Carr said. “We started with that then went into mixed media and began dabbling in other art mediums. I had never painted a thing before the first class.”
Carr’s love for art continued to grow through the years, along with her newfound painting skills. Recently, with the help of her daughter-in-law, Karen Cunningham, she began to share her love of creating art and, at the same time, help financially support something near and dear to her heart – church mission trips. The idea began when the youth group at her church, Ava Assembly of God, was preparing to go on a trip to Orlando, Florida. “The youth were raising money, and Karen said, ‘Let’s do a painting party!’ I had never taught one, but I said I’d give it a whirl,” Carr said.
“We had the class at my house. We pushed the kitchen table out of the way and made room for everyone. It turned out really well. We donated all the proceeds to them,” she said.
Carr enjoyed teaching the class and loved being able to help the kids go on their trip. And with that, Painting with Purpose was born.
The next class was at Taneyville, where a group was going on a mission trip to Mexico and Honduras. More than 20 people attended, and Carr had to place a rush order with Amazon to get more brushes to accommodate the crowd. “The lady who hosted it bumped our $25 per person price up to $30 to increase the profits for her fundraiser and wound up making a little over $500,” Cunningham said. “Her pastor was completely flabbergasted. He told her, ‘Wow, go have another one of those painting parties!’ Now, she’s scheduled for the end of July to raise money for a trip to Faith Home in Honduras.”
Those who have a specific mission trip planned and need help raising money to fund the trip are welcome to call and inquire about booking a painting party. Painting with Purpose also does parties for people who just want to get together and have fun. “For those parties, we take the profits and use it to buy more supplies, so we can continue to help people who are raising money for a mission trip,” Carr said.
Future plans include possible classes at the Historium and other locations around the county. “We can do a class anywhere,” Cunningham said. “We may even have one at the sale barn cafe.”
It’s a family effort, according to Carr. Granddaughters Bailey Cunningham and Sara Suter often help with the classes. “While I’m teaching, they’re going around refilling paint palettes and making sure everyone has what they need,” Carr said.
Carr said several exciting projects are planned for the fall and Christmastime, including porch signs, pumpkins and other holiday home decor.
To find out more about Painting with Purpose, call or text Karen Cunningham, 417-372-2258, or send her a message on Facebook.