Alison Chavez | Mustang News

The Kennedy Library Atrium is mostly quiet, save for a few hushed conversations occurring between friends and newly acquainted students. Those who needed a break or some free art supplies to work on a project have gathered for Pop-Up Painting. 

A walk-in event hosted by the librarian of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED), Jesse Vestermark, Pop-Up Painting gives students an opportunity to take a break and enjoy themselves by painting with watercolors for a few hours.

Alison Chavez | Mustang News

“We are at a polytechnic science-focused institution, and so my goal is to give them something to balance that out,” Vestermark said.

Vestermark founded this program primarily in the Sequoia dorms as a way to engage CAED students outside of their classwork in 2011. He moved it to the library in 2014, where it has occurred since.  

“I would do once a quarter for the first couple years I was here,” Vestermark said. “Then I decided to move it to the library because I could do it more frequently and have more control over the facilities, chairs, tables and scheduling.”

Alison Chavez | Mustang News

It is now a weekly event on Thursday afternoons from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for students from all majors and art backgrounds to come together to paint. Vestermark said many who attend use it as a way to relax away from the books.

“I really like to paint and I never have time to do it,” ethnic studies freshman Audrey Sargent said. “And it’s really relaxing and it’s free, so I was like, oh I’ll come.”

Most who attend came because they happened to see the event as they passed by through the library or through advertisements around campus and online. For Vestermark, a successful event has a healthy attendance of approximately 20 people, and seeing those people who have never met connect and get to know each other.

“The most rewarding thing is meeting people, and just getting a break, but still feeling like you are doing something,” art and design junior Kat Schroeder said.

Schroeder used the Pop-Up Painting event on Nov. 8 as a chance to make a painting for her brother who is expecting a baby. Sitting with Schroeder was crop science alumnus Jordan Marcellus, who was painting his employer’s logo.

Individuals from all levels of experience are welcome to join. Some people traced out their paintings beforehand, while others worked freehand, painting whatever they felt in the moment.

The full list of Pop-Up Painting events can be found on the library’s website at, or on the event’s Facebook page. The next session will be held Nov. 15 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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