Paint a Beloved Pfeiffer Landmark with Melinda Allen ’75

Melinda Allen '75
Appreciation of the Arts

Novice and experienced artists alike can paint the steeple of Henry Pfeiffer Chapel with instructor Melinda Allen ’75 in a “Sip and Design” class via Zoom at 6:30 p.m. on April 29.*

“The idea is to take a stab at something that is fun,” said Allen, an oil painter based in Winston-Salem, N.C. “Also, this event is aimed at alumni of Pfeiffer University; we’ll be painting something that they can identify with.” Allen paints from photo references, so participants in the “Sip and Design” class will as well.

Allen’s path to making art is an intriguing one. She loved painting with her grandmother in early childhood, and she became an enthusiastic patron of museums. She took courses in visual art taught by the late James Milligan Haymaker at Pfeiffer University, where she earned a B.A. in business administration.

After Pfeiffer, she put making art aside to focus on a career in healthcare administration. After retiring about seven years ago, though, she resumed painting and eventually made it a serious hobby after taking some courses at Forsyth Technical Community College and the Sawtooth School for Visual Art. She studies with Sharon Grubbs, an artist noted for “Face of My South: A Visual Anthology.”

Grubbs lauded the remarkable progress Allen has made over the last few years.

Allen “puts the work into it,” Grubbs said. “She loves what she’s doing, and she doesn’t take it lightly. She’s very good at it...A lot of people take up painting in retirement. You can be taught to draw and paint, but, like Melinda, you have to do the work.”

Allen paints prolifically. She has become a fixture in the visual art circles of Winston-Salem and beyond, often contributing paintings to shows where sales proceeds benefit a charity. 

Allen’s paintings, marked by a mix of realism and Impressionism elements, are often inspired by the beaches of South Carolina, where members of her family reunite each summer. They favor images of the ocean and anything one might find near it: sea scapes, shore birds, fishing boats, marshlands and beach strollers.

“I love painting,” Allen said. “For me, it provides the relaxing, creative outlet that many people find in gardening. I hope that the ‘Sip and Design’ session will ignite or reignite a similar passion.”

*Melinda Allen will lead a “Sip and Design” session via Zoom at 6:30 p.m. on April 29. The registration fee is $25, which will cover the cost of a canvas and painting supplies; please register by April 12 to ensure timely delivery. To register, go to or email Tonya Judge at [email protected] , subject line: Sip and Design, or call 704-463-3038.