Paint Nite instructor Ty Bate gives step-by-step instructions to Paint Nite participants.

Paint Nite instructor Ty Bate gives step-by-step instructions to Paint Nite participants.

Paint Nites gain audience in the Alberni Valley

Many Valley residents are participating in “Paint Nite,” or social art classes, in town.

If you’re looking for something new to do in Port Alberni, why not try a Paint Nite?

You don’t have to be artistic, Paint Nite’s website promises. A Paint Nite runs for two hours, and in that time frame, instructors (also called “Chief Fun Officers”) teach guests how to paint a one-of-a-kind painting. They live by the mantra of late art instructor and television host Bob Ross: “No mistakes, only happy accidents.”

Paint Nites are adult-only events, as alcohol is served. They aren’t art classes so much as they are creative get-togethers.

Kim Newns, who goes by her artist name “Ginja Lion,” is one of the instructors working with Paint Nite. She holds a commerce degree, but also does her own graphic art and design work.

“I just love being able to share painting with people who haven’t tried it before and might be a little nervous,” said Newns.

“It’s all about having fun, not a serious art class. We play music, try to keep the atmosphere upbeat.”

She found out about Paint Nite about a year and a half ago from a few friends, who encouraged her to try out for it because of the combination of her upbeat personality and artistic nature.

Newns applied for a license with the company, which she described as “quite a process,” but now she has the ability to hire other artists. She is always looking to hire outgoing artists for the different events.

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Paint Nite has grown in popularity, and currently takes place in more than 1,500 cities worldwide. Newns and her fellow instructor, Ty Bate (also known as “Ty the Paint Guy”), travel from Victoria to Port McNeill to hold their Paint Nite Events.

“Ladies like to go out and socialize,” said Newns. “It’s a different way. Instead of going out to a bar, you can take a painting home and show your kids you took an art class.”

Many of these events are fundraisers, where $15 from every ticket goes to a particular cause.

Annette Clement, the sales and marketing director at the Best Western PLUS Barclay Hotel, said she was interested in bringing Paint Nite to Port Alberni after one of the girls from the front desk attended one in Nanaimo.

“I felt like I had to convince them to come,” she laughed. “It’s a bit of a drive.”

But the trip was well worth it, as the Best Western sold out its very first Paint Nite.

“We knew we had something right away,” said Clement. “We started out holding them every couple of months. Turns out people want more. Now we have back to back classes every month.”

The Best Western public classes, which max out at 75 people, are the largest public classes that Newns and Bate hold.

“We’re glad we did it,” said Clement. “I was pretty shocked and pleased at the interest in it.”

Clement has attended a couple of Paint Nites herself.

“It gives you something to do,” she said. “And it leaves you with something you can be proud of.”

You can find upcoming Paint Nite events listed online at You can also hire Paint Nite for corporate or private events, or for a fundraiser.