On a chilly night in November, a steady stream of women files into the On Pointe Dance Studio on Main Street. Some carry a bottle of wine, others a plate of something steamy and delicious. Everyone is smiling. The occasion is the monthly Arty Party.
The Arty Party is a gathering of participants for cocktails, fellowship and the opportunity to exercise some creative artistic expression.
Celeste Zepponi, a native of Clarksdale, Miss., leads the class. The concept has become so popular over the past year that she now travels to two other locations in Helena and Clarksdale.
But this is not Celeste’s first venture into the art world. She is enthusiastic as she explains that she has been painting for as long as she can remember, that it is a natural extension of who she is. She has done murals, decorative painting, made furniture, taught, and run her own studio for thirteen years. She got the idea for Arty Party after listening as her daughter’s friend described a similar class she had attended.
The philosophy behind the class is to provide an encouraging atmosphere in which someone with no previous experience is guaranteed a reasonable amount of success. A lot of forethought goes into each session. Each painting is researched and tested thoroughly before it is brought before the group. The result is a manageable, yet challenging project that allows students a sense of accomplishment when taking home the finished product.
The environment of the class is warm and relaxed. Celeste is very focused on making sure each individual is having a fun experience. She believes in approaching art with the spirit of a child. No heavy expectations. No worries about mistakes.
Art is about play and just relishing the joy of the process of creating.
This “joy” of creating is part of a strong spiritual component found in all of Celeste’s endeavors. She views creativity as a gift from God and the artwork itself as visual prayer. After experiencing a spiritual awakening over a decade ago, she has discovered that we were made to give glory and worship to God and that her expressing herself through art is the Holy Spirit working through her.
This can best be seen in her collection of angel paintings. She first began sketching angels in 1997. “Every person has a guardian angel. Painting angels is my way of acknowledging this wonderful truth. I believe that when I paint and pray for someone, I am creating a visual prayer and the reminder of the presence angels among us. Angels raise our thoughts towards the worship of God.”
In addition to the Arty Party and her angel paintings, Celeste is also a singer/song writer and has produced several Christian music albums. She says her music was the natural result of an extension of her art. She was first inspired to write songs while she was painting and that like her art, music is a form of thanksgiving.
Celeste regularly has regular speaking engagements where she shares her testimony at Christian retreats and to various women’s groups. You can learn more about her ministry at HYPERLINK “http://www.theartyparty.com” www.theartyparty.com or at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Arty-Party/166427306712295.