Family Paint Night at the Durant Arts Center in Old Town Alexandria

Family Paint Night Example Painting Joy Troupe NOVA Review

I recently did some research on “Paint Night” activities for another post, and I found out that it can be hard to tell exactly what you’re getting. They all use pretty much the same language to describe the activity, but unless you actually go, you can’t know whether it’s one of the type that have you use a charcoal transfer to basically create a “paint by number,” or if you’re going to be given instruction in basic technique in order to recreate an example painting. I really haven’t painted anything since I last took an art class… in high school! But it’s one of the few “crafty” activities my son enjoys, so when I saw a post about a Family Paint Night in Old Town Alexandria, I thought it was perfect for me and my second grader!

Family Paint Night with Pizza Alexandria VA Joy Troupe NOVA
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who thought so. The program coordinator reported that they were expecting MAYBE 20 people to sign up… in the event, there were 61 people in attendance! (That’s a lot of turtles, man.) This workshop was led by Teresa Tindle Brunson. You can contact her at, and she is available to run one of these for your organization or school. (I smell a really great PTA fundraiser… forget Bingo night, this is better!) The cost was $15/person, with children under 12 attending at no charge, and included pizza and beverages as well as the art supplies and instruction. The Durant Center will be holding another one of these in June. (They have other First Friday programs planned- see the flyer at the end of this post for details.) Contact the program coordinator, Cheryl Ann Coulton for more details.

The artist at work Family Paint Night Alexandria VA Joy Troupe NOVA

This particular workshop was done with an example painting, technique instruction, and then free rein for participants to interpret as they saw fit. As you can see, for my 7 year old that meant minecraft… The paints used were tempera paint, which I’m glad of, since we managed to get paint on his winter coat, my purse, and all 20 of our fingers before the night was over… I’m thankful for the easy cleanup!

Masterpieces in progress Family Paint Night Alexandria VA Joy Troupe NOVA

The workshop lasted two hours, which included setup and cleanup time. (The easels were all set up and ready when we arrived, but naturally we did have to distribute the paints when it was time to start.) If you’re the kind of perfectionist who likes to second guess everything and do it over multiple times (guilty) you may find yourself feeling rushed at the end, but this was a very reasonable time frame for the size canvas we were working on.

Finished work Family Paint Night Alexandria VA Joy Troupe NOVA

As you can see, we each came home with a finished piece that’s ready to frame. There were kids of all ages in attendance and it sure looked to me like everyone was having fun! We were very pleased with our projects, but the real prize was getting to do it together. A lot of these types of activities are geared toward either the parent OR the child, and only a few are meant for both together. This was a brilliant success, and you can consider me a fan.

What to know before you go: There is AMPLE parking at this location, but it’s behind the building, so be alert for the driveway entrance. It’s probably usually no problem, but we were looking for it in the snow… We had issues with the online payment system, so we paid in person. If you are going to do this, use a check or EXACT CHANGE. There is no petty cash at the desk. This program was FULL 48 hours after it was announced. When the next one opens for registration, don’t wait around, jump on it right away! There was a VERY long waiting list, so if you sign up and you can’t go after all, MAKE SURE you cancel so they can get someone else a spot! Also: HAVE FUN!

Upcoming First Fridays at Durant Arts Center in Old Town Alexandria VA Joy Troupe NOVA

About Meghan

I like blues, punk, crime drama, mysteries, knitting, science fiction, having boys, and keeping active. I am a cat person, although I think dogs should have equal opportunities. When I'm not here, you'll find me on our main site, or out and about with my kids!

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