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Painting It Forward

By Jeff Eason (

Article Published: Sep. 26, 2013 | Modified: Oct. 6, 2013
Painting It Forward

Artist Jay Winston stands near some of the art he'll be selling to benefit Mountain Alliance at an Oct. 5 fundraiser.

Photo by Jeff Eason

Some artists paint for fame, some paint for fortune.

Painter Jay Winston paints because he loves to paint — and because it’s one way he knows to help others.

For the past decade, Winston has been selling his art as a way of making money for good causes, mostly organizations that help children and animals.

On Saturday, Oct. 5, Winston will sell about 40 of his newer paintings at Rustic in Blowing Rock. The sale will raise money for Mountain Alliance, a local organization that takes teenagers on outdoor adventures.

The art sale will take place from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at 915 Main St. in Blowing Rock. Beer, wine and refreshments will be served.

“When I started, I just wanted to paint,” Winston said. “A friend of mine, who was the director of a mental health institute, suggested that I sell the paintings for good causes. I started doing that in 2002 or 2003. Since then, I have sold around 400 pieces. I have a number of collectors who collect my work in more than 30 states. I never thought I would have collectors, but I do.”

Winston and his wife, Paula, have residences in Boone, Wake Forest, North Carolina and Key West, Fla. He has sold paintings to raise money for organizations in all three locales, including the ASPCA, the Humane Society and the Monroe Society for Parkinson’s Disease.

“The sale of Jay’s paintings has raised more than $10,000 for Mountain Alliance at these annual sales,” said Tammie Jolly, proprietor of Rustic and Mountain Alliance volunteer.

About Mountain Alliance

According to its mission statement, Mountain Alliance provides students with a safe and supportive environment in which they can develop an increased sense of self and their place in the community, a passion for lifelong learning and a commitment to environmental stewardship.

Mountain Alliance’s activities center on adventure and service outings, providing students the opportunity to participate in teams to accomplish their goals, so they quickly come to understand the advantage of working together. They see the impact their actions and decisions have upon themselves and others.

“We are a community of high school students, teachers, professionals, outdoor and adventure-based educators and supportive local leaders and citizens,” the organization’s description reads.

Mountain Alliance started in 1990 at Watauga High School. In addition to coordinating outdoor adventures for teens, such as hiking, kayaking and caving, Mountain Alliance encourages volunteerism. Mountain Alliance students have performed numerous service projects, including serving meals at the Hospitality House, volunteering at the Watauga Humane Society and working on trails at Elk Knob Park and Grandfather Mountain.

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