Arts + Culture,  History + Community,  Opinion

What is Paint Nite?

Locally hosted,” one of a kind experiences, “something to shout about, these are just some of the buzzwords used on the Paint Nite website to describe their events. But what is exactly is Paint Nite?

Paint Nite (recently rebranded as YayMaker) is an event company that hosts creative events like paint nights, candle-making and plant-design classes, held in local bars and restaurants, and run by “creative hosts” who walk you through how to complete a given work or craft. Events range from around $40-$55 per person and last approximately two hours. The experience is supposed to provide a fun night out, drinking and eating with friends, while also doing something creative—but do the classes live up to the hype? I had an opportunity to attend a paint-night event with a few friends back in Ottawa and here are my thoughts on the experience.

Some examples of currently available Paint Nite painting classes in the Toronto area. (Source:

The class itself is quite fun, painting with friends, watching everyone trying to follow along as best they can with the instructions and all leaving with pretty diverse versions of the same painting can be really entertaining. All the tools and materials are provided and generally the creative host is good at maintaining a reasonable pace while also going around and answering questions and giving pointers as the night progresses. Since the events are typically held in bars and restaurants, there’s also a fair amount of delicious foods and drinks available; however, these are not included in the price of the class and need to be purchased separately from the establishment.

The real enjoyment though, comes from spending time with friends doing something a little out of the box from what you would normally do. Since this is the case, is there really any benefit to attending such a class as opposed to doing a DIY version at home? Well—it’s debatable. While the experience can definitely be a lot of fun, the events run a little pricey, especially if you add in the cost of food and drinks, and the end result is typically something you’re semi-satisfied with, but will likely hide in the garage until it’s forgotten and eventually thrown out, rather than putting up on your wall.

I do think the experience is worth trying at least once, but my recommendation is to go the DIY route. Get some canvases on sale from places like Michael’s, cheap acrylics and brushes from the dollar store, and have friends bring drinks and snacks over for potentially an even more enjoyable experience in the comfort of your own home. You can even add in the instructor component (if you prefer to have someone guide your paint session) by screening one of the thousands of free YouTube tutorials by talented artists like Bob Ross. Even better, unlike Paint Nite where you’re limited to creating the pieces on offer, if you have a specific subject in mind, chances are, someone has a video showing how to paint it.

While Paint Nite events can be an entertaining and unique experience, it is possible to replicate in your own home, so the choice mainly comes down to personal preference. Either way, you’re guaranteed to have a memorable night with friends. So next time you’ve run out of ideas for what to do and the thought of seeing another movie or just eating out bores you to tears, why not give a paint night a go? You might be glad you did.

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