WIN hosts Holiday Paint and Sip at 707 Hub

Students can participate in a Holiday Paint and Sip, sponsored by WIN and hosted at the 707 Hub this evening.

Students can participate in a Holiday Paint and Sip, sponsored by WIN and hosted at the 707 Hub this evening.

Students can grab a warm drink and paint away the stress of final exams at Holiday Paint and Sip with Women’s Innovation Network (WIN) today at the 707 Hub. 

For the second year, painters will be welcomed by eggnog, cider, hot chocolate and holiday snacks as they enter, starting at 6 p.m. Lauren Gilbert, owner of Beloved Masterpieces LLC and 2018 Marquette College of Education alumna, will teach a painting lesson at 6:30 p.m. The lesson will take roughly 45 minutes, but students can continue to paint and mingle until 8 p.m. 

Sasha Parsons-Waters, WIN coordinator, said students are welcome to bring friends who do not attend Marquette, adding that faculty and alumni attended last year. Parsons-Waters said the event is in collaboration with the Office of Intercultural Engagement.

WIN was introduced to campus last fall. 

“Women’s Innovation Network is a new initiative to address some of the disparities when it comes to women and minorities and other underrepresented groups,” Parsons-Waters said. “And it’s to encourage underrepresented groups to pursue entrepreneurship.”

Gilbert said she began painting as a way to release stress when she was 18 years old after her mother died. 

“When I paint, I’m not thinking of anything other than the act of painting,” Gilbert said.

It was after she saw the benefits of painting in her own life that she began helping others to heal from pain and loss through painting, Gilbert said. During her senior year, Gilbert met Parsons-Waters who introduced Gilbert to the Marquette legal clinic and helped Gilbert start her business.

Parsons-Waters recalled when Gilbert first explained the workshops to her, Gilbert called it a hobby. She said she told Gilbert her idea was not a hobby — it was a business. Since graduating, Gilbert continued to pursue her business, holding workshops all over Milwaukee. Parsons-Waters said the workshop at Marquette last year reached capacity, bringing in 40 people.

“I wanted to do it again because (last year) it brought a lot of different people together from different majors and different backgrounds,” Parsons-Waters said.

She recalled that at the beginning of the event students immediately sat with friends, but throughout the night they became intrigued by others’ paintings and expanded their circles.

“Before you knew it, everybody was talking to everybody else,” Parsons-Waters said. 

“I think the holidays are a good time for people to get to know people they normally wouldn’t,” Gilbert said. “It’s also a good outlet before finals to take your mind off of what’s troubling you.”

Although she hasn’t taken an art class since middle school, Katie Breck, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences, said the event sounds like a fun and relaxing way to get into the Christmas spirit. 

“It’s cool that it’s an alum that you can talk to about their experience,” Mary Jurich, freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences, said, adding that it would be a good opportunity to try something new with other Marquette students.

Catherine Cahir, a senior in the College of Nursing, said she has always wanted to try something like Holiday Paint and Sip with WIN, even though she isn’t a painter herself. Cahir said she likes that the event involves an alumna giving back to the community.

“It shows that Marquette has given you a lot, and it can be a part of your future after you graduate,” Cahir said. 

“Lauren is a wonderful example of how you can take something you’re interested in and passionate about and make a business out of it,” Parsons-Waters said.

Parsons-Waters said she hopes Holiday Paint and Sip with WIN creates a sense of community as students meet new people and relieve stress from finals.