Painting for a cause

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By Kirstie Kipfmiller
Lansing Star staff writer

Julian Van Dyke creates a live piece

With people in need on their minds, two local artists took it upon themselves to share their talent in hopes of making a difference.

On Thursday, Oct. 13, Hotwater Works Inc. hosted their first Art Nights show to benefit the Mid-Michigan Food Bank. Lansing artists James McFarland, owner of Hotwater Works Inc., and Julian Van Dyke, McFarland’s former UPS delivery man, created numerous art pieces on site that were immediately put up for auction in an effort to raise money for the food bank.

“People are starving to death,” said McFarland. “The food bank got hit. Some vandals broke into it and broke the food, broke the vans, caused a bunch of damage.”

McFarland and Van Dyke have been good friends for years. They built their friendship through their burning passion for art. Eventually, they collaborated and started their own project called Black and White Artists in Full Color where they create pieces together.

Spectators enjoy the art as well as each other's company

“To publicize my hot tubs, and I wanted to publicize our art, we wanted to sell these to raise money for the food bank,” said McFarland.

Preparing for the event only took a couple of days.

“I think the biggest challenge about this was just spreading awareness,” said event coordinator Jena Brown. “It was really easy to get the sponsors. Every single person in the downtown area that I called said, ‘Yes.’”

O’Leary Paint Co. donated six yards of canvas.

“I want to make sure my money is going to the right place,” said O’Leary employee Andrew May. “If I could’ve done more, I would have. This is a good cause.”

Event coordinator Jena Brown poured guests glasses of wine

In a relaxed and social atmosphere, Lansing residents received the opportunity to gaze at art, sip on a glass of wine, eat snacks, and bid on their favorite pieces and $600 worth of gift certificates. McFarland was hoping to raise over $2,000.

“We would’ve liked more people,” said McFarland. “And we’re going to do it again next Thursday night.”

The next Art Nights show is Thursday, Oct. 20, at 5 p.m.

“This is a nice way to raise money for the food bank,” said McFarland’s sister-in-law, Toni McFarland.

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