Party - The Word
with Heather René Dunaway

Written by: Heather Dunaway
March 2024

Let’s party! 


No really, WetPaint is right at our doors and we are super busy getting it ready over here in the Arts Council office.  From the drinks/food to the decor to the art to the entertainment, it’s all coming together.


Celebrations of local art like these are so necessary. WetPaint is a great opportunity for artists to network with each other and collectors and just all around have a good time. But what do you do when you lean more towards being an introvert? Parties can be nerve racking. 


I’m what they call an extroverted introvert. Or, an ambivert. I like my solitude to recharge, wearing sweats and binge-watching British period dramas. There then comes a time when I’m ready to bounce around a party and get into shenanigans with my friends. I definitely have that Leo – Sun, Cancer – Moon energy. So parties are fun for me, until they aren’t, and I want to go home. Talking with acquaintances for hours on end? Not my jam. I know a lot of artists who are in the same boat as me. So, here’s what I do, personally, to get by.


One: I dress up. 


Y’all ever wonder why I love a good, themed party? It’s an excuse to make a costume. A costume is an instant ice breaker. What do you talk about with a stranger? The cool hat you made specifically for this party. Plus, making or assembling the costume gets me in the mindset of going out to an event. It doesn’t even have to be a costume, it can just be a cool outfit. Whatever makes you feel confident.

man and woman standing back to back doing a gun gesture with their hands like secret agents.
Blaine Prescott and Heather Dunaway at the 2023 WetPaint Party at Julian Smith Casino. Heather is a garden daisy from Alice in Wonderland.

Two: I come prepared.


Hey, this is networking. Bring those business cards. Be prepared to talk about yourself, your work, and ask people those “get to know you” questions. “So what is it you do fun?”, “Where did you hear about this event?”, “have you had the food here? What’s good?” – that food one is always a good one. We all love a good snack.


Three: Find your squad.


Don’t wanna fly solo? There’s safety in numbers. Find a friend going to the party or bring a date/plus one. Winging isn’t just for picking up cuties at the bar, it’s for socializing too. Or make a new bestie there. Strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet, or so my mom told me on my first day of middle school.