Gilroy artist hosts live, therapeutic virtual paint parties

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PAINT PARTY Nacho Moya, owner of Moya Art Gallery and Studio, is encouraging people to paint along with his virtual classes. Submitted photo

Art has been proven to be an effective way to cope with anxiety. The therapeutic nature of creating something with one’s hands can sooth a mind overwhelmed with the stresses of everyday life.

With the Covid-19 outbreak causing angst throughout the world, such therapy is needed now more than ever.

Nacho Moya understands this.

Moya, the owner of Moya Art Gallery and Studio in downtown Gilroy, has been hosting frequent live paint parties on his social media channels, showing viewers the step-by-step process on how to paint everything from water lilies, to unicorns and Star Wars characters.

Moya said he began the virtual paint classes as a way to help the community while it is forced to stay at home. But he never imagined just how much of an impact the classes have had, and how far they have reached.

In addition to viewers from Gilroy and surrounding areas, the virtual paint parties have drawn painters from throughout the country and even the world. People from Mexico, Chile, Peru and other countries have joined in, according to Moya.

“That’s crazy,” he said. “I’m speechless sometimes. I don’t know how they find out about me.”

What’s even more important to Moya is the stories he hears from viewers.

There’s the one about the mother who shared that her son participated in a Darth Vader-themed paint party, who loved it so much that he presented his work for his school’s show-and-tell, for which he received an award.

Then there’s the photo Moya received of a 94-year-old grandmother painting along with his class, clearly expressing her joy for the exercise.

On Mother’s Day, many families spent time together painting with Moya. After one particular class, a woman sent Moya a message, thanking him for hosting the party, as she said it gave her an opportunity to spend time with her adult children.

Many young people going through anxiety have also responded.

“They’re telling me that I’m making their day better,” he said. “They forget about what’s going on. This is therapeutic for them.

“This is why I love what I do.”

Moya said he encourages viewers to stay positive in the face of all the negativity that is permeating society. He added that although it’s important for people to stay informed, they need to strike a balance.

“They feel there’s hope, they feel that everything’s going to be OK,” he said. “I keep telling people, ‘hey, don’t worry about it, just relax, have fun and enjoy this class.’ We’ve got to take care of ourselves.”

HOME CREATIVITY  Viewers can use whatever art materials they have at home to participate in Nacho Moya’s virtual paint parties. Submitted photo

Moya said no experience is necessary, and all ages are welcome to join in. He recommends water-based paints for the projects, but said painters are welcome to use whatever they have at home.

Moya Art Gallery and Studio opened at 7516 Eigleberry St., Suite 100 in 2017, where Moya hosts various art workshops. With the shelter-in-place order temporarily shuttering his studio to the public, Moya said many viewers of the free virtual paint parties have donated funds, and added that they can’t wait to visit his studio in person once the order is lifted.

“One of the things people love about my classes, they thank me for keeping it positive,” he said. “There’s a lot of people that say, ‘hey Nacho, I watched your video, and you really motivated me.’”

To view the schedule of upcoming virtual paint parties and to join in, visit facebook.com/moyaartgalleryandstudio.