“Painting the town” at a unique community space in Perrysburg

577 offers dozens of classes every month and some of the most popular involve painting.
Published: Apr. 21, 2023 at 4:46 PM EDT
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PERRYSBURG, Ohio (WTVG) - There are a lot of wonderful places around the region to expand your horizons, explore your creativity and learn new skills. 577 is one of them.

The unique space is tucked away along the banks of the Maumee River.

“577 is a nature conservancy site where we help people connect with each other and the land,” said Executive Director Heather Gallant. “It is a place to come learn, explore and try something new.”

Learning is a big part of what happens here. Gallant says every month there are dozens of classes offered at 577, including painting classes.

“It’s really good for us to do that kind of creative expression. Even if you’re not an expert,” said Gallant. “The process of using your hands to make something beautiful changes how our brain works and how you interact with the world around you.”

Some of the painting classes are now taught in the home that Virginia Secor Stranahan and her family once lived in. Virginia gifted the home and property to the community.

“It is a beautiful and inspiring space,” said Gallant. “Truly what Virginia wanted, was for people to enjoy her home. Inviting people in is what she was about.”

Gallant says the classes are taught by a variety of instructors.

“We have several classically-trained staff members who can teach you how to paint,” said Gallant. “We have community members who want to share their talent and interests with you. They teach classes in painting as well. We love having both types of instructors.”

Connie Stose is an artist, an instructor and the program manager at 577.

“We are interested in process over product,” said Stose. “So we are looking for people to be curious, and try new things in a really supportive environment.”

And Stose says time spent here is about more than creating a piece of artwork.

“I often hear people say our classes are cheaper than therapy. They can come sit and forget everything,” said Stose. “They can enjoy the materials at hand with like-minded people who want to try new things.”

And this is a place for all to learn.

“We offer family classes so multiple generations can learn together. Couples can take the classes together, and you can take a class by yourself. We want you to come in and feel a sense of pride, try something fun and enjoy yourself,” said Stose. “We ask people to come in and put aside their judgement about their ability and give something a try. I hear ‘I can’t do it’ a lot. Yes, everyone can. It is a learnable skill. You can’t give up, you have to keep trying and we’re here to help you. I love seeing people light up because they did something they didn’t think they couldn’t do.”

The painting classes include acrylics, watercolor, drawing and pastels. The classes at 577 change on a regular basis. Schedules are posted the last Wednesday of every month and the classes fill up fast, so you are encouraged to register early.

To learn more, click here.

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