A reiki healer and fifth-generation painter, Hannah Manges believes in the power of intuition, such as when she sensed that what her adult art students needed most was to finger paint. Though she's classically trained, Manges never cared for the rigidity and competitiveness that often characterized the art industry. She further saw that teaching her adult students in a classical tradition took the joy out of things; most of them were there to try something new and expand themselves, not master technique. So during a class in which her students struggled to find joy in their work, she put their canvases away and grabbed a stack of paper plates. Thus began her BYOB finger-painting class, which has evolved into an experience in which people "kick off their shoes, have some wine, and have some fun."
Though the BYOB finger-painting course remains among her most popular—it's earned recognition in local press, such as the Midland Daily News—Manges leads other classes that range from couples' painting workshops to watercolor for beginners. She also teaches art via her television series, Painting Pictures with Hannah Manges, on Midland Community Television Network Channel 99. "I'm becoming a celebrity to all the 80-year-old women in town who read the paper and watch public television," she laughs.
To further encourage students and visitors to become more comfortable with art, Manges posts signs throughout her gallery that say, "Please touch everything." She encourages everyone to fully experience each piece of her art, which includes The Healing Tree series, a collection Manges began to connect with her deceased mother.