Painting with a Purpose rejuvenates students


Jazmine Holloway, a sophomore pre-pharmacy major, relaxed for her physiology test as she painted a blue and orange fist at Painting with a Purpose last Monday.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) hosted Painting with a Purpose Feb. 11, in Walker Hall.

Not only was painting a part of this event, but NAACP provided cupcakes, cookies, fruit and juice.

Mariah Fontenot, the head of Painting with a Purpose, was very pleased with how the event turned out. Around 30 people came to Painting with a Purpose.

“A lot of people came and participated. It was more than we expected. I think it went well,” Fontenot said.

Fontenot said that this past week was NAACP week. They specifically chose this week to host events like mental health awareness, a fish fry fundraiser and a movie night, because it was Black History month.

To go along with Black History month, the design that was picked for students to paint was a fist raised in the air. According to Fontenot, the fist symbolized black empowerment.

While Fontenot chose the painting idea, Bria Birgil, a former NAACP member and artist, instructed students how to outline the fist. Birgil said that she had been painting since she was 12 years old and attended a Visual Performing and Art school. This made Birgil the perfect candidate to demonstrate how to create your own unique fist.

This event did not have a structured painting process which is what Birgil wanted. Birgil said that Painting with a Purpose is supposed to be free in what you want, and doesn’t have to be perfect.

Holloway wasn’t as confident as Birgil made it out to be at first.

“I didn’t think I’d actually be able to draw. I didn’t know we’d actually be drawing the fists,” Holloway said.

However, Birgil said that anyone could learn how to draw. She was at the event to help those who felt like they couldn’t paint, or draw realize that they could.

“I am here to help, and I can help draw if you feel like you can’t. That’s normally where the hang up is,” Birgil said.

Many people choose different ways to paint their fists. Some started painting the background first while others painted the fist. Some outlined their fist with black and some did not. One thing that was unique about each person’s fist was the color schemes.

Everyone’s fist was different. Some fists were rainbow-colored, Mardi Gras-colored and basically whatever color you wanted it to be.

Holloway’s blue and orange fist really helped her relax from all the homework that was waiting for her at her dorm room.

“I loved [Painting with a Purpose]. It was fun. I’m glad I came,” Holloway said.

Fontenot, Birgil and Holloway all agreed that those who didn’t attend missed out.

“They missed out. This has been the coolest event I’ve been to this semester,” Holloway said.