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Mesa Gallery Hosts BYOB Art Classes

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If the recent emergence of a monster museum and indie movie house (in addition to the already existing Evermore Nevermore, Mesa Arts Center, Gotham City Comics and Nile Theater) didn't clue you in, Downtown Mesa is finally getting away from its earlier image as a culturally barren suburban wasteland. Many shops are open past dark -- gasp! -- and a monthly Second Friday artwalk often draws elbow-to-elbow crowds.

In keeping with Mesa's new relaxed vibe, the nearly 3-year-old SunDust Gallery is introducing BYOB art classes on Friday and Saturday nights. And when owner and artist Ron Floyd advertises "bring your own bottles," he's not talking about paint containers.

Participants are allowed to bring their own bottled beer or wine to the event ... And yes, if you're more of a PBR kinda dude than an indie brew snob, canned beer is perfectly acceptable.

"The classes are really meant for non-artists," says Floyd. "This is a social event; something you can do on a date or for girls' night out." In other words, if drawing even basic stick figures seems like a challenge, you'll do just fine.

With artistic newbies in mind, the BYOB classes originally had every guest replicating the same original piece -- a cactus one week, a vase of flowers the next. When participants (imbued with a little liquid courage) griped that they didn't want to paint flowers or cacti, Floyd tweaked the event's design.

You can either opt for the night's selected design or choose one of your own from an art book the store provides. Recent classes have seen a rise in groups of friends all selecting the same subject to paint. "I think maybe they're doing it as a competition," Floyd quips.

That could spell a major blowup for couples who have different skill levels, but perhaps that's where the alcohol comes in -- to soothe any bruised egos.

SunDust's BYOB art classes are offered most Friday and Saturday nights from 7 to 9 p.m. Cost is $50, which includes paint, brushes, canvas, easel and a bottle opener.

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