*This story first appeared in The Budget’s July 11, 2018, Local Edition.
By Stacey Carmany
Area artists looking for opportunities to socialize while channeling their creativity and improving their painting skills are invited to take part in a special club that meets monthly in New Philadelphia.
The Coffee Club Painters is a group open to adult artists of all skill levels that meets on the first Monday of each month for an expert-led workshop or an open painting session.
“We provide workshops plus camaraderie with the artists,” said Marnee Muhleman, a local artist and longtime art educator who serves as the workshop coordinator for the group. “They can also come in and paint if we don’t have anything scheduled.”
Muhleman explained that the group was established three or four years ago in response to the lack of opportunities in the area for adult painters to get together and develop their skills. “There’s other clubs that have once-a-month [meetings] but they just meet and don’t have the workshops and stuff,” she explained. “They just have an art meeting, and everybody’s on their own to paint, and they have to find their own teachers.”
With the Coffee Club Painters group, organizers work to bring in some of the top instructors from around the country to lead painting workshops periodically throughout the year. “I try to bring in the best,” Muhleman shared. “We have had oil teachers. We’ve had acrylics. Some of those we can’t get back again because they travel too much, and they’ve got too much going on.”
One instructor who will be returning to lead a workshop sometime this fall is Bill Rettig, a graphite pencil artist and a watercolor painter from Wheeling, West Virginia. “He’s well known. He travels every place, too, to teach workshops,” Muhleman said. “He was here once before, and he had a good turnout, and now they want him for watercolor in the fall.”
Although the details are still being finalized, Muhleman said the workshop with Rettig will be during the group’s September, October or November meeting.
The cost to attend the workshops is $40 per session per participant, which is used by the club to pay the instructors for their time.
No workshops have been scheduled for the summer, and the group will instead be hosting a series of monthly open painting sessions. “For the summer, it’s just working on their skills,” Muhleman explained. “They can come in, and we just paint. I’m always there to help them if they need help.”
The sessions are free to attend, however, reservations are required. Those who would like to participate are asked to bring their painting supplies and whatever project they would like to work on along with a bagged lunch. “Everything’s brown bag. They bring their own,” Muhleman said. “We will have coffee there for them, and sometimes we’ll bring in cookies or something like that.”
Both the open painting sessions and the workshops run from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and are held at the Emanuel Lutheran Church, located at 202 East High Avenue in New Philadelphia.
Muhleman noted that depending on interest level and weather conditions, the group also occasionally ventures out in the summertime to attend area art shows or to do some outdoor, or plein air, painting. “We’ll go out in a location, someplace in a park or near a lake,” she said.
The cost to become a member of the club is $20 per person per year, and membership is not limited to individuals who reside within Tuscarawas County. “We’ll take members from anywhere,” Muhle- man said. “It’s as far as you want to come from.”
To learn more about the club, call 330-340-4577.