Jessica Snapp
Special to The Union

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July 15, 2013
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Fearless art

“Where would we be without art? Probably in a cave or something,” said Virginia Faraco, art teacher and co-owner of Community Canvas.

Faraco and her cousin, Tiffany McGuckin, began Community Canvas in January to “spread the love of art and creativity to anyone willing to let us,” said Faraco.

Faraco and McGuckin travel to various venues, homes and schools throughout Nevada County to offer group painting classes.

“Everyday life is so busy. These two or three hours take all the worries away,” said Community Canvas fan Paula Strockbine, “I would recommend it to anyone.”

For adults, classes are hosted by various businesses in the community such as Matteo’s Public and Pilot Peak Winery; these are called paint and pour events, said McGuckin.

“There is always food and drinks, but you can make it whatever you want,” said Strockbine “I always have tea.”

“We did a paint and pour event at the Nevada City Winery,” said McGuckin, “we painted Starry Night Over Nevada City, a twist on a classic piece.”

Each event has a painting of the day, a sample of which can be viewed on the Community Canvas website prior to the event, said McGuckin.

“These classes also make great team building events for companies or retirement parties,” said McGuckin. “We just did a kids’ birthday party at Lazy Dog.”

The classes are meant to be inviting for artists and wannabe artists. “Fearless art” is what Faraco calls it. “You can, I promise, it doesn’t hurt,” she said.

“I love that you do not need any experience whatsoever,” said Strockbine, who has done four Community Canvas events. “These ladies break it down so anybody can do this; they make it so simple,” she said.

Faraco said she breaks the painting into a simple format.

“I do a portion of the painting, then take time to check on anyone. If you have any stumbling blocks, I help you get through them,” she said. “We work background to foreground.”

“The classes are also a great way for community people to get to know each other,” said Faraco, “The people in the class are strangers most of the time. We encourage people to get up, look at their neighbor’s work, see what others are doing,” she said.

McGuckin said she came up with the idea for Community Canvas after being left with a lot of down time subsequent to an accident her husband suffered.

“I was painting one day, having a glass of wine, and thought how fun it would be for people to get together and do this,” she said.

McGuckin, a long-time art teacher in Nevada County schools, said she contacted her cousin, Virginia Faraco, also an art teacher, and pitched the business idea to her.

“We are an art-enthusiastic family that loves art in all forms,” Faraco said.

McGuckin and Faraco have significant experience as art teachers in local schools.

“I started as a volunteer art teacher 18 years ago,” said Faraco.

Budget cuts to school art programs eliminated Faracos’ position as a school art teacher, she said.

“I’ve been in local schools for 12 years.” said McGuckin. “I did after school art classes at Union Hill.”

The combination of teaching experience and enthusiasm for sharing a passion for art with the community make Community Canvas the perfect business model for McGuckin and Faraco.

“Being able to teach … I love it!” said Faraco. “when someone does a piece they are proud of, they are walking on air.”

“We want to bring a love of art into the community,” said McGuckin.

The ultimate goal for Community Canvas is to incorporate and eventually gain nonprofit status, said McGuckin.

“We want to give back to school art programs,” she said.

“The name speaks for itself,” said Strockbine. “Community Canvas is all about the community.”

Becoming a nonprofit will make it easier to work within schools and places like senior centers.

“Being a no-profit will let us in the door,” said Faraco.

Gaining nonprofit status will also allow Community Canvas to hire local artists as teachers.

“We already have local folks submitting resumes,” said McGuckin.

“Other artists will get to spread their joy of art, too,” said Faraco.

“We can reach places and people we couldn’t otherwise.”

This week Community Canvas will offer paint & pour events from 6 to 9 p.m., Wednesday, at Old 5Mile House and from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, at Ol’ Republic Brewery, both in Nevada City.

The August schedule will be available within the week at Community Canvas is also available for private events and can be reached at 530-272-2213.

Jessica Snapp is a freelancer writer in Grass Valley.

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The Union Updated Jul 22, 2013 10:47AM Published Jul 22, 2013 07:04AM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.