Not just your average art class....

The best way to explain this to people?......

There is no way to explain the way this works.

But I can offer a few insights about this studio, the people who come through the door year-after year and how I teach in a very special way.

First, the studio...

I opened the doors as an art gallery in 2002 and began teaching in 2003. SO the evolution of what is taught and how it's taught has been directly impacted by the people who attend class. What does that mean?...If someone wanted to learn something, I taught it. and If I didn't know how to do it, I found a way to learn it so I could teach it. And that's how I still do this.

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You might say that I am a life-long-learner and I am blessed to be able to share what I do in a space that has evolved along with the community that it supports.

We love all the art mediums! Everything from watercolor to oil and pastel to pencil. There isn't a medium (or mix of mediums) that we wouldn't play with! And we have a beautiful annual student exhibit to show off what we discover!

Second, the students

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Our art families and how we welcome new members...

When a new student begins, we all do our best to be welcoming and curb the fear that is a huge part of beginning anything new. AS THE TEACHER, I begin with an assessment before we dive into any teaching. My philosophy is: how can I teach a student anything if I don't find out where they are and where they want to go? So we start by observing some painting and drawing (quick and simple and I don't grade!) This a stressful for most, but within a half hour they usually realize that it can be relaxing. AS A COMMUNITY, we simply offer kind words and space to explore whatever unfolds.

AND most importantly,

How I teach in a very unique way...

(enhanced by my ADD & other various charming personality traits!)

Over the past decade or so, as a teaching artist, I have discovered many ways that people learn. And since I have several learning "disabilities" myself, I am very empathetic with all learning styles. When my students would ask me how I am so patient?..I just picture me trying to learn....and it's always easy to be empathetic.

SO how is this class run different?.... Everyone is painting in different mediums and styles and at their own pace.

People ask me all the time...."HOW DOES THAT WORK?"  It just does!  and this is where ADD actually helps me!  I can move from one medium to the next and one focus to the next...with ease. This keeps my passion fired up and allows me to stay fresh for each individual that comes to the studio...

Next question?.....YES, THERE'S LOTS AND LOTS OF GUIDANCE!!...I promise.

It's a studio art class with LOTS of guidance  OR little guidance! How does that work?...

Students learn to ask for help. And we ALL need to learn this. It's important to know when we are in need of guidance and the studio offers a safe place to ask for what you need. For some, it's a certain kind of music, others need different lighting and most just need to know that they are not going to be ignored....I can help anyone, at any level...to progress, get unstuck and learn how to express, create, explore and take the arts to any level.

Every student that comes to the studio has a vision of how they want to express and experience the arts and I allow that to exist in the same space and the same time! It is magical. For students who stick around for more than a month, it becomes clear that we all want the same things out of the class/studio and we all support by doing what a community does best when there is a facilitated program in place (subtle, but very well maintained as "safe space")

What do we all do to keep this studio maintained as a learning environment as well as a place to heal, grow and connect with yourself AND others?....

  • We listen to the instruction, even when it's not directed at our current project
  • We don't critique our artwork unless specifically asked by the person creating it
  • We offer support and hold space when someone is struggling
  • We don't talk politics or religion during class
  • We share art experiences and shopping tips when the sales are unbeatable!
  • We just breathe and feel better....that helps everyone...no matter what

A special note for teen parents in search of an art class?....

Yes, they build a portfolio here....

and can design their own program according to what their needs are...

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.......But let's really talk about the needs of a high school student?....STRESS REDUCTION!

This studio offers community and support! Over the years, our teens come back after college because they feel that connection...to themselves and to others. What is more important than that?

What's most important?.....College prep? Good grades? a good job?.... A Healthy, happy human?.....

As a mother of 5 and grandmother, I am writing to fill you in just a little if you think that our teens have a priority of grades and college prep....they need connection. They need to express and explore the world they live in. An art studio offers the most unique way to experience that.

Art is an invitation to connect and explore self discoveries.....it's not just about the product.

What about college???...

Yes....we actually do make ALOT of art.....Where have students moved onto from our classes: Alfred, MIT, Potsdam, Purchase, and many more incredible academic institutions.

 

So to wrap this up?....

Send your teen to art classes, NOT because YOU know what they need from the art class.....But because THEY NEED TO EXPLORE THIS FOR THEMSELVES AND GROW INTO THE AMAZING, TALENTED, SKILLED, PRACTICED CREATORS...that you know they are inside.