Joseph LaPierre’s legacy lives on in local art studio

June 21, 2011

Dee Dee and Michael Scott participate in an art class at the new Alla Prima Creations on Canvas studio in Juno Beach.

Participants wielded paintbrushes all afternoon during the grand-opening celebration of Alla Prima Creations on Canvas in Juno Beach. Four art classes took place in the new studio on Donald Ross Road – at 1, 3, 5 and 7 p.m. – to invite the public to “release their inner artist.”

“Alla Prima is a place where anyone from a beginner to a skilled painter can release their inner artist and enjoy an instructed painting experience, all while enjoying a glass of wine or the beverage of their choice,” said Rebecca Seelig, a spokeswoman for the studio.

The studio boasts a creative staff: the family of Joseph LaPierre, a well-known and well-liked local artist who died in 2009.

“LaPierre’s friends and family decided to continue Joe’s dream, in his honor, and opened Alla Prima Creations,” Seelig said.

Named after the term that means “a painting technique in which the work is completed in one session,” Alla Prima Creations on Canvas offers classes for everyone from beginners to seasoned artists. The two-hour classes include a 16-by-20-inch canvas, materials and supplies, step-by-step-instruction from one of four teachers, and the option for guests to bring their own food and drinks. Guests also can paint wine glasses, coffee cups and metal buckets.

“Most people are a little insecure about their skills, but they all seem to have a good time,” teacher Devin Howell said.

Jesse LaPierre, Mr. LaPierre’s 22-year-old son, also teaches in the studio.

“Art school was informally my dad,” Jesse LaPierre said. “He was kind of the Confucius for me in the realm of painting.”

Sarah LaPierre, Mr. LaPierre’s 20-year-old daughter, and Michael “Plunkasso” Plunkett round out the teaching crew.

The grand-opening festivities began at 12:30 p.m. and included a raffle of five original paintings, as well as a limited-edition giclee by Mr. LaPierre. A portion of the proceeds from the day will benefit the ArtiGras Art Education Foundation, which supports art programs at area schools.

Melody LaPierre, Mr. LaPierre’s widow, said her husband would be proud of the new business venture.

“He was always encouraging people to paint,” Melody LaPierre said. “People would come into his studio and say, ‘I can’t paint,’ and he would say, ‘Yes, you can.’ ”


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