Runners, walkers invited to 'Paint the Town'

Jessica Fischer • Feb 17, 2014 at 7:21 AM

With the economy still struggling to recover and non-profits left fighting for limited financial resources, it pays to be creative.

That’s what KingsportARTS is banking on with its inaugural Paint the Town 5K fundraising walk/run, set for March 1.

“We were having trouble selling tickets and getting people here at the Renaissance Center for events,” said Tina Radtke, KingsportARTS’ arts education director. “We’ve done silent auctions and we did a dinner theater, and when you do stuff like that, you have to sell tickets, but then you also have to sell tickets to people who are going to come and buy items at the silent auction as well. The same thing with a raffle. You have to get out there and sell tickets, and we are a two-person staff, we have a small board and it’s just hard because we don’t have a steady flow of clientele like the ballet studio, that has 100 students in there every single day that can go out and sell to their friends and neighbors and can sell 500 tickets easy.

“Even with all the kids in our workshops, because they’re only once a month, we don’t have that constant flow of clientele, so we were trying to figure out something we could do to raise money for our arts education programs that wouldn’t require selling tickets, and let me tell you, there is not much.”

That’s when Radtke and Cathie Faust, KingsportARTS’ executive director, met with Hank Brown from We Run Events about the possibility of organizing a 5k fundraiser.

“He suggested that if we wanted something that was going to stick, that we could continue to repeat each year, that would grow, that maybe we should make it something ... related to what we’re doing here, so we tossed some ideas around and decided to go with ‘Paint the Town,’” Radtke said.

In keeping with the race’s theme, participants are encouraged, but not required, to come dressed or painted as their favorite artist or work of art.

Entry fee is $20 for runners pre-registered by Feb. 27 and $25 for late or race day registrants. All pre-registered participants will receive a race T-shirt.

Registration packets can be picked up from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, Feb. 28 or beginning at noon on race day, March 1.

Runners will hit the streets at 1 p.m., beginning on the Yadkin Street side of the Renaissance Center and winding their way through the surrounding neighborhoods before ending up back at the starting point.

Prizes will be awarded to the top overall male and female finishers along with the top male and female finishers in each age group. Second- and third-place finishers in each age group will receive a certificate.

Free children’s activities will be held from noon to 2 p.m. on the Renaissance Center lawn.

“We’re going to have a Paint the Town paint relay race,” Radtke said. “The kids will form teams when they get here, and the first child will start at the canvas and start painting a picture of a town we’ll have. They paint until the next person runs from the start line to them, then the second child will paint until the first one goes back to the start line, tags the next one and the third child gets to the canvas. ... The picture that each group creates, because every child can’t take the canvas home, we will put a digital copy of it on Artsonia.com, and then parents can actually go to Artsonia and order hats and mugs and mouse pads and T-shirts with the art piece on it. That’s a fundraiser for us as well.”

Proceeds from the event will benefit KingsportARTS’ arts education programs, including a kindergarten readiness program; ART We Talented for children 18 months to 5 years old; Arts4Kids for children ages 6-12; and KEYPAD for participants ages 13-18. In addition to its classes at the Renaissance Center, KingsportARTS also hosts arts activities at four outreach locations as well as teacher inservices.

“The biggest thing is because the participants are not going to be our typical come to our fundraiser folks, we’re really hoping to make the community more aware of our arts education programs,” Radtke said. “It is a completely different group of people that we’re inviting in with this race.”

Race sponsors are We Run Events, the City of Kingsport, King University, Varsity Trophies, Douthat Insurance, Shoozies and Texas Roadhouse. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Volunteers are also needed.

For more information, call Radtke at (423) 392-8420.

To register for the race, visit www.werunevents.com.

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