BYOB Painting Lounge Hosts Singles Night with OKCupid Dating Site

By Meredith Hoffman on July 17, 2012 2:13pm 

A student painted Picasso's "Seated Woman With Wrist Watch."
A student painted Picasso's "Seated Woman With Wrist Watch."
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Painting Lounge

WILLIAMSBURG — Get ready for a singles' night infused with paint, alcohol and online dating ingredients — or, as Kevin Tarasuk called it, "speed dating" meets "speed painting."

The major dating site OKCupid has launched events for its users — and the drink-and-paint Painting Lounge on Union Avenue is one of the first to offer a mixer this week.

"You go through a whole spectrum of emotions while painting," said Tarasuk, who opened the BYOB venue last April and said he's already witnessed people meet in his regular classes. "And I think that spectrum, of walking in a little bit shy and walking out proud is a good recipe" for bonding with a potential match.

OKCupid — which has thousands of visitors signed on at any given time and has recently been acquired by the even bigger dating giant Match.com — has already scheduled four events at Tarasuk's studio that are "members only," he said. In the first one Wednesday students will learn to paint Van Gogh's "Cafe Terrace at Night" while sipping on (or chugging) spirits.

"For these OKCupid classes we’re going to stop the class more often so there's time for meet and greet, and we'll do musical chairs," he said of ways to facilitate the flirtation process.

Other events OKCupid is hosting include a beach yoga in New Jersey, bowling, and improv classes, according to the site. A spokesperson for the site did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

"I think for them it’s a way of creating an even more casual way of meeting each other without having to take the step to contact a person and then spend a certain amount of time with that person," Tarasuk said of OKCupid's strategy with the new feature.

And for the Painting Lounge, where he said 80 to 90 percent of his students are women in their 20's and 30's (though for the OK Cupid events the site tries to create an even mix), Tarasuk said he hoped the events would help draw more men in the future to pick up women.

"As soon as the straight male contingency realizes this they’ll be a little more into the acitivity," he said of his classes, which typically cost $50 for two hours and include supplies and a 16-by-20-inch canvas. The OKCupid sessions come at a discounted price, he noted.

And even if they leave alone, they'll walk home with a 16-by-20 canvas that has become transformed to mimic a master, whether that of Van Gogh, Andy Warhol, or Edward Munch.

"I often hear the line 'I haven't painted since kindergarten,'" said Tarasuk. "And that's perfect — that's exactly what we're looking for."

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