Art Bash Studios uses art as activism, will host painting fundraiser for Rape Crisis Center

Instructor Sarah Cherry, left, painted the coastal Georgia landscape to be used as a model during Wednesday’s painting party fundraiser. Connie Preston, right, owns The Art Bash Studio.


Typical fundraising events offer wine, snacks and small talk among folks wearing gowns and tuxedos. Wednesday night’s fundraiser at The Art Bash Studio—an event benefiting the Rape Crisis Center of the Coastal Empire—has the food, drink and socializing covered, but leave the fancy evening wear at home; acrylic paint doesn’t wash off.

Participants in this fundraiser will be making their own paintings, using as their model a marshy coastal Georgia landscape painted by Art Bash instructor Sarah Cherry. (And yes, they should wear old clothes they aren’t worried about staining.)

“Most people come in and they have never painted before and they’re terrified,” said Cherry, who will coach the painters Wednesday as they try to imitate her original, meaning no two of the visitors’ paintings are likely to look the same. “It makes people go out of their comfort zone.”

“The wine helps,” added Connie Preston, the studio’s owner.

The Savannah Women’s Council of Realtors will sponsor the benefit event that runs 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, June 22, at Art Bash, 7704 Waters Ave. A limited number of tickets, priced at $40 each, are being sold through Eventbrite.

The Council of Realtors, on a Facebook page announcing the fundraiser, calls it a “paint and wine night” with the theme of “coastal.”

“There will be popcorn, snacks and painting supplies provided and a limited amount of wine, so bring your drink of choice if you choose.” One room at the studio holds 32 people, and an overflow room holds another 13, it says. “We plan to sell out completely.”

Preston says this is the third or fourth time that the Women’s Council of Realtors has sponsored a benefit for the Rape Crisis Center at her studio. “They do it every year with me.”

But the Texas native also personally subscribes to the art-as-activism concept, and estimates she uses her studio for 12-15 painting party fundraisers a year, benefiting such causes as leukemia, lymphoma, dyslexia, Down syndrome, autism, animal and pet rescue, “almost too many to count.” She also donates a lot of painting lesson gift certificates to charitable organizations to use in auctions and raffles.

Preston moved to Savannah some 30 years ago and took a flight attendant’s job with Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. Now retired from Gulfstream, she started her art studio about five years ago and has felt blessed by how successful it’s been.

Supporting good causes through her business is a way of saying thanks to her adopted city. “It’s an awesome way to help the community.”

Author: Brad Swope

Brad Swope, a college composition and literature instructor, has lived in Savannah since 1989. He is a former newspaper reporter whose interests include art history, music and the great outdoors.

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