Winter Garden window artist creates a career through passion
Mindy Hungerford, a Winter Garden artist, has found success by networking with West Orange businesses.
| 2:31 p.m. February 2, 2016
Arts + Entertainment
Arts + Culture
She’s been called the “dancing artist.”’
You can find Mindy Hungerford along Plant Street, paintbrush in hand, decorating the windows of the stores in downtown Winter Garden.
The art of painting is an emotional experience for Hungerford, and it calls for mood music. If she’s painting something happy, she will listen to Motown. On a serious piece, she listens to rock. And she will dance as she paints.
“Painting — you just have to kind of feel it,” Hungerford said. “It just comes out; it’s all emotion. You can see in someone’s art what they were feeling at the time.”
The difficulty of painting windows? It’s translucent, so people inside get to watch her dance as she paints.
“I like my lunch and show,” someone recently joked to her while leaving Winter Garden Pizza Company.
HOW IT BEGAN
Hungerford, a Winter Garden resident, is the owner of Panache Events, a company that started out hosting events for restaurants. Work was hard in the beginning. She struggled to get paid for her work, and the challenging job kept her away from her two young children, Kincade and Jackson Paul. When she found out Jackson Paul had special needs, the pull to be home became even stronger.
Wanting to make a change, she headed to Winter Garden Pizza Company in February 2015 and presented the idea of teaching a class on how to paint wine glasses. After some convincing, Hungerford hosted her first class there. Seventy-five people showed up.
“My husband had to run to the store and go get more wine glasses because I only brought 25,” she said. “I didn’t think anyone was going to come.”
Each month, the class kept growing. It’s good business for Winter Garden Pizza Company, because visitors usually purchase dinner during the class.
“She draws a big crowd every time she does it here,” said Debbie Liskey, a manager at Winter Garden Pizza Company. “We love her.”
The class is intended to provide a night out for moms such as Hungerford at a reasonable cost — $15 per person. Hungerford also hosts parties for kids and other businesses.
Word began to spread about Hungerford’s classes and her work. She teaches other classes out of state in Louisiana, California and Amelia Island. But it’s all grown by word of mouth.
“Painting — you just have to kind of feel it. It just comes out; it’s all emotion. You can see in someone’s art what they were feeling at the time.” — Mindy Hungerford
“Women love to talk,” Hungerford said. “Everyone was having such a wonderful time at these events.”
Window art also started at Winter Garden Pizza Company, and as word spread, she has taken on more projects in the area.
Much of her recognition has come through the Facebook group Winter Garden — Rants, Raves and Reviews, where Hungerford has been a member since the page had only 200 members.
“I’ve made so many friends through that page, and it has done so much for my business,” she said. “I love that I’m kind of Winter Garden’s artist — I hate to say that, but it feels good.”
The interest in Hungerford’s work has been so strong that she is able to work while also homeschooling her kids — exactly what she hoped for when she began.