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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Arts Council event brings sweethearts and friends together for a paint night

Mar 30, 2023 11:40AM ● By Jolene Croasmun

Couples came out to paint for Sweetheart Paint Night at Cottonwood Heights City Hall at the end of February. (Jolene Croasmun/City Journals)

The Cottonwood Heights Arts Council hosted Sweetheart Paint Night on the last Friday in February at city hall. Abstract expressionist artist Whitney Horrocks guided the crowd with a light tutorial and helpful tips on painting with acrylics.

Ciara Powers, vice chair of the Arts Council said, “Whitney Horrocks is really good at teaching technique.”

Horrocks earned her bachelor’s in art with an emphasis in drawing and painting from the University of Utah. She was the featured artist this past January at the Cottonwood Heights City Hall and currently resides in Salt Lake City. Horrocks owns and teaches art at The Smartest Artist, an art education studio located in Cottonwood Heights.

The medium was acrylic and a scenic mountain image was on display for the entire group to paint. Horrocks could be heard over the speakers inspiring the artists to express their creative talents onto the canvas through the paint brush.

Powers said that everyone was painting the same image yet “a lot of the paintings look very unique because everyone paints the same image differently.”

The Arts Council chair Laura Garcia said, “If you were a couple attending then you could paint your image and have them like a diptych.” A diptych is where two panels together create a singular art piece. “The final paintings could be hung next to each other, where the mountains would appear to go together.”

Reina Forsythe and Rich Clark were a couple out for the night. “This is the first time to do one of these events. We haven’t been out without the kids in a very long time,” Forsythe said.

When asked how the evening was going Forsythe said, “It is very fun and is something different for a date night.”

“I am the one that went rogue with my painting. The one that goes off script. My mountains turned into who knows what?” Clark said, describing his painting as “very abstract.”

The couple, both smiling, said they’d do one of these events again.

Brooke Eatchel enjoyed painting with her friend Lindsay. “I have never been to a painting night before but it is so very fun to experience new things,” Eatchel said.

Eatchel had no formal art lessons and said she “taught herself.” She added, “I would do this again, and it's really exciting.” Regarding the instructor, she said, “I would recommend taking art classes from Whitney to anyone, she is so fun.”

Horrocks taught the group how to add a tree to their pastel colored mountains. “Where you want to make your first tree, oh my gosh! We will all take a deep breath and paint a black line on your painting,” Horrocks said. Horrocks continued by demonstrating ways to use the paintbrush to carefully create the spruce on the mountain landscape.

Members of the community including Cottonwood Heights Councilman Shawn Newell came out to enjoy the evening of creating art. 

The cost was $7 per person and all supplies were provided along with light refreshments which included sparkling cider in plastic champagne glasses.

Cultural Manager Ann Eatchel said, “We had 60 people sign up and we sold out but we did have a few no shows.” 

This is the second paint night that the Arts Council has hosted and both were successful. The Arts Council is looking to add additional members. “There are six people on the Arts Council of Cottonwood Heights and we’re still recruiting,” Eatchel said. 

Residents interested in getting involved with the Cottonwood Heights Arts Council can apply at