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East Carolina University nursing professor Lou Everett paints an original watercolor as Pete Hickey works in the background at the Painting Purple & Other Colors Artists' Working Studio and Gallery. Hickey and the Groessers will open the shop for the first artist studio tour Nov. 5 to raise funds for scholarships in the ECU School of Art and Design. Photos by Cliff Hollis

Behind-the-scenes artist studio tour features new gallery

Proceeds to benefit scholarships in the School of Art and Design

By Crystal Baity
ECU News Services

GREENVILLE, N.C.   (Oct. 24, 2011)   —   One stop on the upcoming fundraising artist studio tour for East Carolina University's School of Art and Design will be the new Painting Purple & Other Colors Artists' Working Studio and Gallery.

Some Pirates may recognize a familiar face in the East 10th Street studio. Lou Everett is a watercolor painter in the shop, a longtime College of Nursing professor and board member of the Friends of School of Art and Design.

The other artists at Painting Purple are Pete Hickey, Dodi Groesser and John Groesser, who will welcome guests on the inaugural artist studio tour from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5. Funds raised will provide scholarships for art and design students.

The studio name, Painting Purple, is a nod to ECU. "We've tried to make the connection," John Groesser said.

First artist studio tour benefiting School of Art and Design

Eleven artists in Greenville and Winterville are opening their studios to guests on Nov. 5.

Tickets are $20 and funds raised will provide scholarships for art and design students.

Tickets are available from Lou Everett in the East Carolina University College of Nursing, Gray Gallery in ECU’s Jenkins Fine Arts Center, Jenni K Jewelry, Emerge Gallery, Greenville Museum of Art, Frameworks, The Art Room, Certain Things and InkStone Gallery in Winterville.

Scott Eagle, ECU associate professor of painting and drawing, assistant director of graduate studies and assistant director of the school, and Catherine Walker, professor and coordinator of the foundations department in the school, are on the tour with Tony Breuer, Dolly Colwell, John and Dodi Groesser, Pete Hickey, Debby McCullough, Linda Griffin-Grobe, Jenni K and Sandy Vincent.

Raffle tickets are available for giveaways of an original framed acrylic painting and 15 fine art digital prints of the original by Vincent. Raffle tickets are $10 each or three for $25 and available where tour tickets are sold.

--Crystal Baity
He likes the color so much that he painted the floors purple and has recently started toning his white canvases with purple before putting anything else on them. He paints in acrylics in an impressionistic style with big brushes and bold strokes.

"The purple gives it harmony as it shows through," said Groeeser, who chose purple after experimenting with toning in blues and pinks. "The purple makes it darker. Instead of jumping out bright, it's quiet."

John and Dodi Groesser leased the space in Hardee Village Shopping Center in May, two months after John retired from Potash Corp. The couple decided that Dodi's 12-by-14 home studio was too small for two artists. Dodi, an art major who taught piano for more than 30 years, retired in 2007 to paint full-time. John started painting about 10 years ago. They invited Hickey and Everett to join them in the studio.

"It's a lot of fun. You can leave your art materials out and don't have to put it all away," Everett said. "We all respect each other and critique each others' work. We like getting feedback from each other."

The studio is open 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and 3-6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and other times by appointment. Everett is there on Mondays.

"We want people to come in and watch us paint," Everett said. "The challenge is getting the word out to let people know we are here."

Everett, Hickey and the Groessers met as members of Greenville Brushstrokes, and their gallery and studio supports many fundraising events in the community like the artists tour for ECU.

A portion of each sale is given back to local worthy causes, primarily the Pitt County Schools' Visual Arts Program, art activities for the Pitt County Memorial Hospital Children's Hospital, and the ECU Pirate Club. Recently $133.50 was donated to the county schools art program.

"We've received so much from the community we live in through our experiences. It's our way to give back to the community," Everett said.

The artists offer classes in beginning watercolor, intermediate watercolor, beginning oil and plein air, a term from the French phrase "en plein air," which means in the open air.

The classes encourage people to try painting or to rekindle interest, said Everett, who discovered watercolor in 1994 as a way to nurture and rejuvenate her spirit and lower stress. "Maybe they have painted but haven't had their brushes wet in a long time," she said.

The artists have solo shows underway or in the works. John Groesser's acrylics are on display at a Tavola Market Café in Greenville, Hickey's watercolors will be at the N.C. Estuarium in Washington in December, and Everett will open a show at Laupus Library on the ECU health sciences campus in January. Dodi Groesser will open a show at a Tavola in February.

The artists will participate in two upcoming events including a Greenville Brushstrokes' Holiday Show and Sale Nov. 26-27 at Brook Valley Country Club. The event will feature original works in oil, acrylic, watercolor and mixed media as well as prints, calendars and cards with a wide range of subjects.

On Dec. 3, Painting Purple will host a holiday show and sale from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Patrons will be able to designate 10 percent of any sales to their favorite charity. The studio is at 4320-G E. 10th St. in Greenville.

John Groesser applies purple acrylics to a painting at the artists studio.
John Groesser applies purple acrylics to a painting at the artists studio.


Contact: Crystal Baity | 252-744-2482