- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 30, 2014

NEW PALESTINE, Ind. (AP) - The one lesson that has stuck with Janet Hanley’s art students more than anything:

“It’s just paint.”

As valuable to life as it is to canvas, Hanley’s students say now is the time for that lesson to be spread to more students. They’re hoping Hanley’s dream of opening an arts and crafts hub in New Palestine becomes a reality.

Hanley, 47, launched a campaign on kickstarter.com to open Art and Other Things, a business that would bring artists together to teach and market their talents.

“I want it to be . not just a place to teach, but a place for creative people to get together because you want to feed off of each other,” Hanley told the Daily Reporter (http://bit.ly/UKQbqL ).

A rural Hancock County resident, Hanley has been teaching classes at New Palestine Christian Church for four years. She hopes to launch an art studio and gallery in the New Palestine Plaza, at the site of the former 24 Hour Gym and Fitness.

Fairly new to painting herself - she discovered her talent around 2007 - Hanley said art is something she never knew she had a knack for. These days, she’s winning competitions, and she hopes to encourage others to give it a try.

What’s impressed Hanley’s students most has been her patient demeanor, letting them know that painting can be fun and therapeutic, and it’s OK to make a mistake.

“She just relaxes you and keeps saying, ‘It’s just paint,’” said Suzanne McCarty.

Painting an impressionist meadow landscape last week, McCarty said Hanley’s teaching has been uplifting, and she hopes her teacher can see her dream become a reality.

“I just think it’s Janet’s time, and she’s got enough support,” McCarty said. “It’s going to be like that snowball down the hill. It’s going to gain momentum.”

Linda Popp said Hanley’s encouragement has helped her find joy in art. She’s learned she doesn’t have to worry about mistakes too much.

“It’s like, ‘I’m an artist! I can do that!’” Popp said.

Hanley, a married mother of five and grandmother of three, is originally from Michigan and has lived in Indiana since 2001. A self-proclaimed “science geek,” Hanley said she was surprised to discover a passion for art.

Hanley spent years as a pharmaceutical laboratory technician. She had fallen in love with science in high school; art had been cut from the school’s budget, so she had little opportunity to give it a try.

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