Open Paint 2.0 sparks artistic creativity in Redwood City

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Open Paint 2.0 sparks artistic creativity in Redwood City

CAPA volunteers graciously squirt different colored paint onto paper plates.

CAPA volunteers graciously squirt different colored paint onto paper plates.

Talia Schreiber

CAPA volunteers graciously squirt different colored paint onto paper plates.

Talia Schreiber

Talia Schreiber

CAPA volunteers graciously squirt different colored paint onto paper plates.

Talia Schreiber, Staff Writer

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The smell of fresh paint wafted through downtown Redwood City on Saturday, May 4, where hundreds gathered at the Civic Center Plaza to paint anything their heart desired.

The Community Advocacy Through Art (CATA), a volunteer-run project of the Redwood City Parks and Arts Foundation, hosted an admission-free, all-ages outdoor painting experience known as Open Paint 2.0. The event sparked people’s creative side while promoting local art.

“Open Paint is meant to get everyone together to mingle and create art, even if you think you are not an artist,” said Ellery Seither, the Open Paint manager. “Every kind of art is unique, and we want to help people express themselves through the art they fabricate.”

CATA creates public craft events such as Open Paint 2.0 as a means of social advocacy. With the assistance of local artists, businesses, and nonprofits, CATA provides art opportunities to community members of all backgrounds. According to their website, they help to “bring awareness to local topics such as homelessness, community gardening, mental health, and affordable housing.”

This is the first time they have hosted a large-scale event open to the entire public.

“The turnout is unbelievable. We never expected that there would be this many people showing up today,” said Seither.

Many appreciated the acrylic paint, brushes, and vinyl sheets which were provided to the participants at no cost.

“Sometimes it’s nice not to stress over money and how much to bring when you go out,” said Sasha Peters, a local. “My daughter and I had so much fun, and I realized that painting is surprisingly relaxing and something I want to do more of.”

People could be seen painting everything from quirky shapes to intricate self-portraits and animals.

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  • A young girl uses her finger to paint a large red flower.

  • A featured artist displays her work to the public.

  • A mother and her son paint on multiple canvases.

  • Finished paintings are hung up until they are dry enough to travel home.

  • A woman uses all of the colors to create an abstract work of art.

  • Different non-profits set up across the Redwood City Courthouse Square.

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After they finished painting, participants had the choice of either taking their work home or entering it in a contest to win a shoutout along with other small prizes.

“It is so great to get out and do something non-screen-related,” Maggie Plata said. “Especially since everything is digital now, people seem to disregard the importance of exploring their creativity and making art in real life instead of drawing fake pictures on their phone.”

Professional artists were painting alongside the attendees to inspire and help them improve their technique.

“It was really nice to have the guidance of an experienced artist because it helped me come up with ideas of what I should paint,” said Mark Rubenstein, a local. “I learned that no one can fail artistically because the best paintings are the ones that make you wonder, ‘What the heck is this?’”

Many local nonprofits set up stands around the plaza in hopes of bringing awareness about their programs to the community.

Marcela Rodriguez, the program director of one of CATA’s featured nonprofits, Friends For Youth, said, “This is a children’s nonprofit and more specifically a mentoring organization. We match children with mentors and week to week they are doing enjoyable activities. We invited some of our youth and mentors to come to this event because we have been with CATA before and we want our youth to put themselves in the community and meet new people that also decided to come out today.”

Citizens who want to help support CATA can donate paint supplies and subscribe to their newsletter for updates on their projects. Those passionate about art and interested in becoming a volunteer can contact [email protected] for more information.

“We are always looking for more people to join the CATA family and help others find their artistic talent,” Seither said. “Art is such a crucial part of understanding yourself and others because it speaks where words are unable to explain.”

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