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’Tis the season: Spreading joy through art

Published on: December 9, 2015

By LISA STARK

Cypress Creek resident Mary Jo Gluff shows off her new painting from Pinot’s Palette. Lisa Stark photos.

Cypress Creek resident Mary Jo Gluff shows off her new painting from Pinot’s Palette. Lisa Stark photos.

Ask anyone who has visited a nursing home or assisted living facility and they will often say the patient rooms can be somewhat drab and colorless. Sabina Raymond of Cypress Creek Assisted Living knows this well.  Having worked with elderly residents for nearly eight years, she is always looking for ways to brighten their day and bring a smile to their faces, which gave her the idea to approach Beverly Walker, owner of Pinot’s Palette in Brandon with an idea.

Pinot’s Palette is an upscale “Paint. Drink. Have Fun.” studio, where customers learn to create their own paintings while enjoying fun and refreshment with friends. Taught by Pinot Palette’s professional artists, students have the rewarding experience of completing their own festive painting, often centered around seasonal themes.

With a surplus of paintings by her instructors building up in the shop, Brandon franchise owner Beverly Walker was excited about Raymond’s idea to donate the extra paintings to local nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, where patients could enjoy them hung right by their bedside.

“It’s been a very fulfilling project,” said Walker, calling their activity “Spreading Joy Through Art.”

Approximately 200 paintings were hung in residential facilities last week, including Consulate Healthcare of Brandon, Cypress Creek Assisted Living and Sun Terrace Rehabilitation Center in Sun City Center.

“It brightens up the resident’s rooms, which also brightens up their lives,” said Raymond, who serves on the staff at Cypress Creek.

Pinot’s Palette is one of several national franchises of “paint-and-sip studios” in the U.S.. Within the first three quarters of 2015, the company signed agreements for 50 new franchise locations and has opened 25 new studios across the country.

Sabina Raymond, left, and Pinot’s Palette franchise owner Beverly Walker.

Sabina Raymond, left, and Pinot’s Palette franchise owner Beverly Walker.

The Brandon location caters to special events like Girls’ Night Out, Double Date Night, birthdays, bachelorette parties, anniversaries, and corporate events. They offer a fun evening where budding artists can discover their inner talents while sipping their favorite beverages with friends. The idea to spread holiday cheer by donating paintings in residential facilities was unique to the Brandon and Sun City Center area community.

Beverly Walker and husband Dennis have operated Pinot’s Palette in Brandon for two years, having come from a high-volume business they owned for 24 years, supplying classic desserts to more than 150 Starbucks stores throughout central Florida.

“Approaching retirement, we wanted a business that would be fun and rewarding, and we liked the idea of a franchise versus building an entire business from scratch,” said Beverly. “One of the biggest rewards is seeing people just let their troubles fall off their shoulders and enjoy an evening of fun.”

The Walkers have long believed in the philosophy of “leave your troubles by the door.” Dennis, a long-time biblical counselor through his church, shares the same mind-set as his wife and business partner.

“We have a heart for people who have worries and problems in their lives, and see the value of letting all that go and getting involved in a creative, fun activity, even if just for a few hours,” said Beverly.

During this holiday season, a lot of folks are ready to abandon their burdens for awhile and do just that. The Brandon studio offers two- and three-hour classes where customers can create festive, whimsical paintings centered on such seasonal themes as the 12 Days of Christmas, personalized snowman family, holiday pines, and jolly Christmas lights, which comes complete with twinkling battery-operated lights applied directly to the canvas surface.

Budding artists enjoy an evening of art, companionship and fun at Pinot’s Palette in Brandon.

Budding artists enjoy an evening of art, companionship and fun at Pinot’s Palette in Brandon.

Students at Pinot’s Palette display their holidays paintings, titled Countdown to Christmas.

Students at Pinot’s Palette display their holidays paintings, titled Countdown to Christmas.

Pinot’s Palette franchise owner Beverly Walker, center, spreads holiday cheer with two of her art instructors, Jessie Snyder, left, and Kelly Lorenz.

Pinot’s Palette franchise owner Beverly Walker, center, spreads holiday cheer with two of her art instructors, Jessie Snyder, left, and Kelly Lorenz.

“I would love to see this project spread to other facilities throughout the area,” said Sabina Raymond. “It’s a wonderful way to spread holiday cheer and hope, and we can all use a little of that.”

Pinot’s Palette is at 2086 Badlands Drive in Brandon. For more information, visit www.pinotspalette.com/brandon or call 813-618-3064.

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