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Central MA Up + Comer: Paint NIte’s April Kennedy

Thursday, December 26, 2013


Free spirited April Kennedy gets to combine work and pleasure by running Paint Nite Worcester.

April Kennedy is a teacher at Paint Nite Worcester, a traveling painting event that visits local bars and restaurants. The creative 27 year-old from Rutland also co-owns The Gypsy Cart, a bohemian vintage and antiques business started by her mother, Faith Stephens. Kennedy and her sister Amber Kennedy now run The Gypsy Cart at Crompton Collective. She enjoys spending time with her fiancé, Will Salter; a dog, Loomis; a guinea pig, Millie; and has plans for a future mini-farm.

A Conversation with April Kennedy

SW: Can you describe your career?

AK: I currently license a brand called Paint Nite, where I manage and teach art classes for beginners at local bars and restaurants. Tickets can be bought online according to the date, venue and painting someone is interested in. All anyone has to do is show up and buy a drink. I play fun music and we drink and eat while I walk people through all the steps of the painting. You can find my classes in Worcester and surrounding towns. I also co-own a antique and vintage business called The Gypsy Cart, in Crompton Collective, where my sister, Amber and I sell hand painted furniture, antiques, and bohemian home decor.

SW: What is the best thing about your job? Your life?

AK: The best thing about my job is certainly helping other people unleash their hidden talents. People often come to Paint Nite with some nerves about their own ability. They often end up impressed with how relaxing it can be and how well their painting turns out. As far as the Gypsy Cart, I love collaborating to create and find beautiful things for people's homes. My mom introduced us to decorating and painting. To be able to both paint and create anytime I want is the biggest bonus of both of my jobs. My life is pretty great right now, I have a loving fiancé and family and I couldn't ask for more.

SW: Can you describe a day in your life?

AK: I'd like to say I have a regular routine, but I am not too structured a person so each day is very different. On Paint Nite days: I wake up, respond to emails, order materials online and maintain the website, then make calls while having my coffee. I then run errands like dropping off promotional materials or meeting with new venues. I make one day a week a "painting day" when I paint my originals for Paint Nite. I usually watch movies or listen to records while I paint. At 5:30 on the night of an event, I set up at a bar with my assistant, start teaching from 7pm to 9pm, pack up and clean up, post the event photos to Facebook and send out coupons and then I'm done for the day! Some days I just shop thrift stores and flea markets or craft for The Gypsy Cart and stock my booth at Crompton. I use those days as an excuse to pop into my favorite local businesses.

SW: What is your dream job?

AK: Exactly what I'm doing! And someday I would really love to turn The Gypsy Cart into a boutique and cafe.

SW: What is your favorite movie? Why?

AK: That's a hard one. I have my default feel-good movies that I watch repeatedly when I need a lift: Amelie, because it's the story of a strange girl finding love and I love the amazing styling and colors; Fantastic Mr. Fox and Rushmore because Wes Anderson movies make me happy; and Practical Magic because my sister and I used to think we were the long lost Owens women.

SW: What music do you listen to?

AK: I like a lot of everything. I just went to a show in North Hampton—Darlingside. My friends introduced me and I have seen them a few times now, you must see them play to understand their amazing talent...and my happy music defaults: Sigur Ros, Cat Stevens, and Paul Simon.

SW: What is your favorite social networking site? Why?

I love Instagram because I think of it as a photo diary, it's full of pretty tidbits of people's lives.

SW: What do you do away from your career?

AK: I paint and create shadowbox art. I also love to cook, garden, and spend time with my family and dog.

SW: Are you involved in the community? If so, how?

AK: I consider helping to promote and support local businesses and events to be very important. I also like to help with any mural project, or public art projects that I can. I donate Paint Nite tickets to charitable causes and help organize fundraisers through Paint Nite.

SW: Who or what is the biggest influence in your life?

AK: The women in my family: my grandmother, mother and sister. Their talent, encouragement, and strength has encouraged me to never settle for less than what I can dream up. If you can learn to appreciate the good, the bad, and the ugly, you can conquer anything.

SW: What is a fun fact few people know about you?

AK: I used to be terrified of public speaking; now it's what I do for a living.

SW: Your favorite quote?

AK: "Normality is a paved road, it's comfortable to walk on, but no flowers grow on it" –Vincent Van Gogh. And "Let yourself be drawn by the strange pull of what you love, it will not lead you astray"  –Rumi

SW: What do you think creates success?

AK: PASSION and perseverance


Central MA Up + Comers is a weekly profile of a member of the next generation as they are making their mark on the Central Ma workforce and community. Join us every Thursday for a look at the careers and lifestyles of the local digital generation. If you have suggestions for a profile, please email susanwagnerpr@gmail.com.

Susan Wagner is the president of Susan Wagner PR. In this challenging economy, she has begun a new division to offer affordable start-up packages to new and emerging small businesses and non-profit organizations that include professional writing services, websites, collateral, marketing, social media, grassroots outreach and PR campaigns.


Related Slideshow: 7 Art Galleries To Visit In Central MA

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Worcester Art Museum

55 Salisbury Street, Worcester

The Worcester Art Museum, often referred to by its acronym WAM, is the most acclaimed cultural attraction in the city of Worcester. The world famous "classic American museum" contains over 35,000 pieces of artwork spanning over 5,000 years. Currently on display is [remastered]: A reinstallation of the Worcester Art Museum's paintings from the 16th-18th centuries provides a new look at Old Masters.

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Worcester Center for Crafts

25 Sagamore Road, Worcester

The Worcester Center for Crafts’ Krikorian Gallery, in conjunction with Worcester State University, is committed to "sustaining craft as a vital part our community" through education, advocacy, and entrepreneurship. They are currently holding its Holiday Festival of Crafts 2013 this weekend.

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Fitchburg Art Museum

25 Merriam Parkway, Fitchburg

The Fitchburg Art Museum is one of the cultural treasures of North Central Massachusetts. Though not quite as famous as its cousin to the south, the Worcester Art Museum, the Fitchburg museum still houses an impressive permanent collection of art spanning 5,000 years. Check out their current exhibition: Still Life Lives! - A celebration of the vitality of the still life tradition and its themes of beauty, bounty, darkness, fragility, and fleeting moments, which runs through January 14.

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The Sprinkler Factory

38 Harlow Street, Worcester

The Sprinkler Factory is a unique gem in Downtown Worcester and a true center for all the arts. Once a manufacturing plant, the Sprinkler Factory now provides space for individual artists to form their own studios and contains areas for music, dance, and other fun activities. The massive atrium on the second floor in the middle of the complex is available for local artists to show their work. The public is welcome to browse the artists' studios and galleries. An upcoming exhibition entitled Indoor Games , runs from December 7 through January 25, captures the spirit of creativity during the winter months.

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Boulder Art Gallery

960 Main Street, Fitchburg

Since its opening in 2008 by founders by Ann and Peter Capodagli, the Boulder Art Gallery has been committed to showing original and vintage paintings, photographs, prints and sculptures from the region's most talented artists. A true variety of work from both new and established artists is on display in a multitude of mediums and styles; check out oils, acrylics, watercolors and pastels. Many pieces are also available for purchase.

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Aurora Gallery and GArtH Gallery (ArtsWorcester)

660 Main Street; 657 Main Street, Worcester

The Aurora Gallery and the “GArtH” Gallery of Art at the Hadley are run by the organization ArtsWorcester, and both show the work of local artists, many of whom are members of the group. For a list of current and upcoming exhibits, click here and here.

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Davis Art Gallery

44 Portland Street, Worcester

Since its founding in 2006, the Davis Art Gallery has made it its mission to promote the Worcester art community and create awareness of the local creative culture. One of the ways the gallery does this is by showing the work of local artists in a great variety of different mediums. Currently, you can see an exhibit by Emily and Robb Sandagata; Unearthed, which runs through February 7th.


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