An event company is combining its virtual art events with social justice this weekend in an art class taught by a Bronx-born artist.
Yaymaker, the event company formerly known as PaintNite, quickly pivoted to virtual events in light of COVID-19. Consumers can buy tickets to traditional Paint Nites, cooking classes, kids topics, knitting, fitness and so many more topics all online.
On June 14, it is hosting Paint Nite: STOP HATE, GO LOVE, a virtual Paint Nite protest in support of anti-racism. Over 5,000 people have registered for the event and the attendee number continues to grow. The hope is that when people come together, it breaks down barriers and opens hearts and minds. Yaymaker believes in the healing power of art, so in this event, it is turning to both.
Lorraine Perez is the event host and will also be teaching the class. After working 20 years in finance, she decided to change her career path from corporate to the arts, her true passion. She became an artist for PaintNite/Yaymaker as a member of Team Tavarone from Long Island. Five years later, she’s had the pleasure of sharing her gift and creating special moments with thousands of people.
As a person of color, born and raised in the Bronx, Perez, 48, has not only witnessed, but been victim of many challenges related to racism, some more subtle than others. When this opportunity came up from Yaymaker, she was inspired to create something that would have complete symbolism, yet be easy enough so all ages could participate in the peaceful painting protest.
At the age of 10, she moved from an apartment in West Farms, to a house in the Soundview area. She spent a few years between Mosholu, Bainbridge, Belmont/Little Italy and Kingsbridge before moving to North Carolina and finally settling on Long Island.
One of her art pieces is of a stop light with red, yellow and green hearts. Perez said that each of the lights represents something meaningful: the red light means to stop hate, the yellow is to caution the world and the green is “go love.”
The bright yellow background sets the stage as a caution sign and the black street lights symbolize the communities where many of these racial disparities occur.