Arts Council brings back classes
- Published: May 31, 2012
Ever want to make a papier-mâché puppet? Paint a beautiful image in watercolor? Draw the perfect water drop? Learn to sketch leaves and flowers?
Having organized art classes for much of its 40-year history, the Yellow Springs Arts Council is rebooting its educational workshops with a series beginning this week.
“Everybody has the seed to be an artist,” said Arts Council member Libby Rudolf, who will teach a watercolor workshop in June. “It’s just taking the time to look and practice and play with the materials.”
In the 1950s and 1960s, art classes were held locally all over town, including at the Mills House, the Fels House and Carr Nurseries, before the John Bryan Community Center allowed the Arts Council, founded in 1972, to expand the range of classes and attract more students, according to Deb Housh, who is working on an Arts Council history project.
During the next “thriving 20-year period,” the Arts Council offered classes in writing, painting, jewelry, weaving, dancing, healing arts, cooking, gardening, Portuguese and aerobics, before the municipal offices moving to the Bryan Center and broader cultural changes reduced attendance, Housh said.
Now with a brand new gallery and workshop space at 111 Corry Street, the Arts Council is embarking on a revived era of arts education. The back area at its gallery, an open space with large tables and natural light, happens to be perfect for workshops and live music, and education fits with the Arts Council’s mission, according to Brian Housh, its gallery marketing coordinator.
“This aspect of community arts education was such an important component” for the Arts Council, Housh said. “Classes are an important way to add art to life.”
First up is Margrit Tydings-Petrie, a Kentucky-born mixed-media artist and former art teacher whose first show in 16 years, “Dancing with the Universe: Masks and Beyond,” opened at the Arts Council gallery last week. Part of New York City’s East Village puppetry scene in the early 1970s, Tydings-Petrie will lead adults and children in creating their own puppets in the style of her whimsical characters, which are made with papier-mâché and recycled materials.
“Puppets are expressive,” Tydings-Petrie said. “You can talk with people with puppets and it’s like poetry. And you can make them do what you can’t.”
Tydings-Petrie’s “Wanna Mâché?” workshops take place from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 26, and Saturday, June 2 at the Arts Council’s new Corry Street space. Materials are provided. Call Tydings-Petrie at 937-767-7039 to reserve a spot.
All the artists exhibiting at the Arts Council gallery are encouraged to teach a class on their craft, according to Brian Housh. Exhibiting from mid-June to mid-July are the Monday Morning Artists, a loose group of locals who meet once a month to discuss art, share their work and create together. In conjunction with their show, “Exuberance,” the group will put on five different workshops over the month, all held on Saturdays from 2 to 3 p.m. and limited to six participants.
Those who keep a journal might be interested to add watercolor sketches to their repertoire and can learn how with Rudolf’s workshop on June 23. Rudolf will teach participants to do quick watercolor paintings, which can be more intimate than words.
“A lot of people keep a notebook or diary and I hope to give people the technique to put down their experience in watercolor,” Rudolf said. The cost is $10 per person.
Mary Cargan teaches a five-step method for drawing the perfect drop of water as designed by artist Janie Gildow on June 16 for $3. Yuki Hall leads a watercolor greeting card workshop on June 30 for $10. And Ann Gayek teaches nature drawing on July 7 for $10. No previous artistic experience is necessary. The Monday Morning Artists group is also open to the public. It meets the first Monday of the month from 9:30 a.m. to noon at the Presbyterian Church.
Arts education today will probably look different than it did in the 1950s, because aspiring artists can now learn by watching videos on YouTube or joining Internet chat groups, according to Deb Housh. The mode of delivery is not set in stone and because artists are naturally creative, the Arts Council will tap them for education ideas. With mini-grants made possible by the Yellow Springs Community Foundation, artists can propose a lecture, round-table discussion, performance collaboration or other model. For example, Nancy Mellon and Corrine Bayraktaroglu are putting on Jafa Girls Explorations, casual drop-in programs once a month.
The forthcoming educational push will help the Arts Council pursue its goal of economic development in the arts, according to Rudolf.
“It’s a perfect role [for the Arts Council] because artists are showing what we love to do best, helping to encourage others to play at art and helping support Yellow Springs as an arts destination.”
Visit www.ysartscouncil.org for more information.