It was a perfect confluence of events, because Michele Sandifer had been planning to take an Art On the Gogh paint-ing class anyway. “I was chatting with the instructor, Molly Loch, while I was making that plan, and she mentioned she does private parties and fundraisers as well,” Michele recalls. Michele knew from that moment that she wouldn’t just attend a class – she would host one, Art on the Gogh for the IMF, in honor of her sister-in-law Beth Harman.

Since Beth’s myeloma diagnosis, Michele had wanted to create a fundraiser. She knew that this art class, where the participants are inspired to recreate paintings of the masters, would make for a great event. “I knew it would be a fun way to raise money and awareness at the same time,” Michele says.

She chose the Applebee’s in Virginia Beach, VA to host the event, because they were already used to accommodating Art On the Gogh’s monthly classes. The restaurant was also a perfect opportunity for people to order whatever food and drink they’d like, which helped create a fun and casual atmosphere.

Through Facebook, Michele and Beth invited their friends to join them. Art On the Gogh’s instructor, Molly, also shared the event on her business’ Facebook page. Frank Harman (Beth’s husband and Michele’s sister) set up their dedicated IMF fund-raising website and wrote their marketing material.

On March 14th, 17 aspiring painters arrived to paint for the cause, each generously supporting it with a $30 donation in addition to the class fee. “It was such a wonderful surprise to see everyone’s inner artist come out,” Michele says. She, Beth, and Frank were also thrilled with their ability to support the IMF in this way. They raised nearly 10 times their target goal, and had a great time doing it.

An added bonus? “It was rainy outside,” Michele notes, “So it was a great day to paint.”

Editor’s Note: Are you interested in trying something similar in your neighborhood? Check out the art lessons, dance and exercise classes, and bike paths in your area – or be on the lookout for any-thing fun for your friends in your community!

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