What started out as a simple fundraiser for a local family coping with Motor Neuron Disease, is turning into a night filled with love, life, fun, art and music, all down to the vibrant community spirit in Portarlington.
Painted Love takes place in the Dunamaise Theatre, Portlaoise this Saturday February 25 at 7pm.
What was to be a simple art sale, has grown legs to feature live music, interactive art making and demonstrations, an auction and a monster raffle, with over 55 paintings available to buy, now on exhibit in the Dunamaise.
At its heart is a wish to give a brilliant night out for mother of three Stephanie Moody, who will be presented at the end of the night with a piece of artwork made up of a painted fingerprint from everyone there. Donating it will be two of the many children that she childminded over the years in Portarlington.
She will enjoy a slice of her favourite cake, Baileys chocolate biscuit, music by Emo opera singer Clodagh Dunne, Portarlington Youtube star Shannon Bryan, and the Flaherty family, surrounded by family, friends and her supportive community in a night to treasure.
It began with restaurateur Eamon Carroll asking his artist friends to donate a painting to raise money for the Moody family, who have had to make the family car wheelchair accessible, among other big adjustments to their lives.
A committee quickly formed and word spread around the town.
"I am overwhelmed at the reaction, there are great people out there. Old age pensioners are donating money, the Men's Shed have got involved, Abbeyleix art college, Mount St Annes craft group have knitted and crocheted 150 flowers as gifts from Stephanie to residents in nursing homes, to spread the love beyond the night," Eamon said.
Local businesses groups took it on themselves to collect money, while a host of generous raffle prizes have been donated.
A fun element will be recreated classic paintings The Scream, Mona Lisa, and American Gothic, with spaces cut for the public to insert their own face, while another artist will be encouraging them to help her create a piece on the night using flowers.
Prizes include two weekend VIP tickets to Bare in the Woods, a Lily O’Brien’s luxury hamper, lunch for four in the Radisson Blu Athlone, dinner for two in Kelly’s foundry Portlaoise, a meal for two in the French 1/4 restaurant Portarlington, and to save the waistlines, a three month membership of B-Fit gym in Portarlington.
Opening the exhibition is Operation Transformation expert Dr Eddie Murphy, from Portarlington, and Willie Murphy will MC the night. Tom McDonald will conduct an auction of 20 of the paintings, with the rest subject to a 'silent auction' where viewers can write their offer price on the wall.
Artworks are by professional artists such as Hazel Pearson, Hugh Thompson, Melissa Donagher, as well as many local and amateur artists, in a range of media and subjects.
"We just hope that Stephanie has a great night out, that she feels the love that is here in the community for her and her family. Here we are, and we are right behind you," said Eamon, thanking the Dunamaise Theatre also for "doing hula hoops" to help the committee.
Limited tickets at €10 are still available from The French 1/4 restaurant, and from the Dunamaise box office, click online here.