This year's Heart of Ohio Tole (HOOT) convention is now history. This popular Decorative Painting Conference was recently held from August 14th-19th at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in the heart of downtown Columbus, Ohio. The Convention offers an opportunity for guests to learn about new products, watch demonstrations, take classes, purchase items at the trade show, or to just socialize with others that share the love of painting.
This year's convention theme was "Cooking Up Some Painting Fun" and once again offered classes in oils, acrylics, watercolor, colored pencils, and mixed media. New products were introduced in some classes and new trendy colors showcased in others. More than 150 classes were offered in the 2017 catalog, which was mailed out in early March.
One popular activity at HOOT is the free demonstrations. These are usually one hour long and are presented by the teaching artists or by the companies represented in the trade show. (Ros Stalcup doing a free demo here to the right!)
Vendors with products ranging from brushes, paints, surfaces, stamps, online magazines, and online courses were showcased throughout the trade show floor, which was open from Wednesday evening through Saturday. Exhibitors launched new products, educated guests through demonstrations, gave away door prizes, and offered convention discounts on purchases.
A popular event each year is the Art Show. Artwork is submitted by professionals and amateurs alike. Any conference attendee can enter a piece in the show. Those who are registered at the convention may vote on their favorites in several categories. The winner of this year's Best of Show was an oil painting by Robert Warren entitled "Winter's Light".
One of my favorite parts of HOOT is walking through the Class Project Room. The talent is amazing, and I am always inspired to sign up for a few more classes after seeing the projects in person.
The HOOT Chapter offers a gift shop with hand painted items for purchase. This is always a popular location to spend time and purchase gifts for yourself or others. Another popular event is the Chapter's annual Raffle. This year's raffle proceeds will go towards pancreatic cancer research. Raffle winners are announced at the Banquet, which is traditionally held on Friday evening. Those who registered for convention are invited to attend this elegant event at no additional cost.
New this year was the HOOT Cookbook. Project Chair, Georgia Meyer, stated that many months were spent completing the cookbook of recipes shared by the Chapter members. The Chapter hopes it added to the Convention and will “Cook Up Some Painting Fun!” The cookbooks are $9.95 plus tax and can be found on the HOOT Chapter's website. http://heartofohiotole.org/
And then there is the HOOT Memory Box Program. Once completed, these memory boxes go to over 14 area hospitals and are given to families who have had a stillborn or pre-mature baby. HOOT members paint boxes throughout the year. This program is set up at the convention to allow guests to paint on boxes and be a part of such a caring project.
HOOT had approximately 450 registered guests taking classes. Many more guests attended to walk through the trade show and to spend time with friends. Attendees are encouraged to stay at the Hyatt Regency "Hoot Block" of rooms. Those guests are entered into daily drawings for various prizes, including early registration and free registration for next year's convention.
This year I offered to volunteer and assist the HOOT Chapter during convention. The HOOT Committee volunteers hundreds of hours all year long to make HOOT possible. According to this year’s Convention Chair, Diane Eyestone, various committees work approximately 12 months to put together this one week's convention. Then during the convention, HOOT members volunteer the entire week to manage various rooms, booths and activities necessary to make this convention run smoothly. The HOOT members have had plenty of practice to get it right, as this was the 37th Convention held by this Chapter.
Sheila Smith will be the 2018 HOOT Chairman. The theme for next year's convention will be "Painting Fun in the Sun" and will be held on August 7-11, 2018 at the same location as this year. Class catalogs will be available online or mailed for a fee of $10. It is expected that the catalog will be available in February of 2018. If you have questions about 2018, would like to submit a class, or be part of the Trade Show, please contact Sheila at: email@example.com
I know I did not mention every activity or event that takes place at HOOT, but the one event that takes place at this wonderful convention is something that you can't sign up for, don't have to pay for, or even plan. It is the fact that for the last 37 years friendships were made and kept. Plans were in full force to attend the following year even before we left the current one. Roommates were decided, transportation discussed.
In time, conventions like HOOT will come to an end, as all good things do. We all need to encourage and invite our painting friends, young and old, to come to one of our Decorative Painting Conventions. It is almost guaranteed that once they attend, they will want to come back. For many, this convention is the only time we see our HOOT friends. These friendships are solid. Having met people that share the love of painting, can inspire you and feed your creativity. Earlier this year, I lost my best painting friend. She was 94 years old. She was the first person to tell me about HOOT and took me to my first convention. That was 22 years ago. And I never stopped going.
Ruth Green has been a DecoArt Helping Artist since 1998. She has traveled to and worked at many Decorative Painting Conventions throughout the United States as well as the CHA Convention. When not at conventions, she teaches classes locally and works a full time job. Contact Ruth at firstname.lastname@example.org or find her on Facebook!