Paint Class returns, in-person gallery open


Visual Fringe, the visual art portion of the Orlando Fringe Festival, will bring back its popular Cocktail and Paint Class, as well as host a variety of other events, during the second week of the festival.

The Cocktail and Paint Class, which debuted last year, is a ticketed event in which participants are lead by an artist in creating a selected painting, all while enjoying a cocktail of their choice.

Visual Fringe producer Melanie Leon said the event received positive feedback last year, paving the way for its return this year.

“Everyone got to sit near each other and have a drink and chat and laugh and get to know each other,” Leon said. “It really was a joyous time.”

Leon said class participants will come in, head to the bar to pick a cocktail and receive a canvas, paint brushes and paint.

“The teacher will then lead them through creating what she selected this year — a close-up image of a very colorful rainbow guitar,” Leon said. “It’s very fringy.”

Local artist Becca Koopferstock, who is leading the class, said the time in class should be enjoyable and relaxing.

“My goal with them is if you want to follow along with what I’m teaching, you’ll likely have a painting that’s pretty similar to what I’m painting,” Koopferstock said. “But also, if you just want to go off and do your own thing, it’s time for you to create something.”

Koopferstock said her favorite thing about the class is it is something different that can be accomplished together.

“It’s a unique thing to do with your friends, or your spouse, or your children,” Koopferstock said.

Visual Fringe associate producer Megan Markham, who participated in the event last year, said Koopferstock is really good at teaching the class.

“I did one last year, and it didn’t look awful,” Markham said. “And I’m not a paint person.”

Koopferstock said visual art is something you can learn.

“The more often you do it, the better you become,” Koopferstock said. “So, if this starts people feeling like they’re connected to being able to paint something because we took them step by step, hopefully it will help them on their journey to continue if they want to.”

Visual Fringe’s art gallery, which opened to the public May 17, will remain open until May 29.

The gallery, located inside of the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, displays pieces from local artists that are for sale — 100% of the money collected is given back to the artists.

Leon said the gallery is like the theater portion of the festival in that it is 100% unjuried.

“We do not take pieces based on how much time you’ve been an artist or what it looks like,” Leon said. “If you submit and you want to be there, you can be there, which allows us to support artists at any point in their artistic journey.”

Markham said the gallery has sold 53 pieces so far.

“I think we have maybe double that,” Markham said. “And we’re not even halfway through, so that’s neat.”

Markham said she was excited for the gallery to come back fully this year instead of being back halfway like last year.

“Last year, we were online and we sold a decent amount of pieces and artists got money that they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise,” Markham said. “But it wasn’t rea
l, big Fringe.”

Visual Fringe also debuted its new headquarters this year, officially named Visual Fringe HQ, which is located in the Patron’s Room at the Orlando Shakes.

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Visual Fringe HQ features crafts, live events, shows, selfie backdrops, an artist vending machine, the art market and even a creative lounge for people to hang out.

Leon said she is honored to be a part of the process of seeing Visual Fringe grow by leaps and bounds this year.

“We have more events than we’ve ever had, we have a venue we haven’t had in years,” Leon said. “And watching people develop this connection to the festival and this connection to the art is truly powerful for me.”

The Cocktail and Paint Class will take place at 7 p.m. May 29th on the Play What You Can Stage at The Lowndes Shakespeare Center. Purchase a ticket at

For a full list of Visual Fringe shows and events, visit

Email me at [email protected]. Want more theater and arts news and reviews? Go to


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