Igniting the creative spark: Arts Center classes inspire children, adults to unleash their inner artist

By KATE SNYDER

Community Arts Center

When kids are making art, something magical happens. A spark ignites and they realize they can transform the pictures in their minds into visible, tangible, beautiful works of art. For some kids, that spark quickly grows into a raging creative fire. Take Gus, a Danville fourth-grader. In early January, Gus visited the Arts Center on a field trip with his class. Later that afternoon, to the surprise of Arts Center staff, he turned up unannounced in the ceramics studio, eager to make more art. His mother, Stella, was not surprised in the least. “He has a potter’s blood. Both of my parents made and laid tiles for a living when I was a kid.” It was obvious to everyone that Gus needed more art in his life, so his mom promptly enrolled him in a drawing class. Gus brings the same enthusiasm to drawing that he had for clay work, riding his skateboard to class each week and bouncing up the stairs, ready to create something new.

A new round of Arts Center classes starts the week of March 13 and the class lineup includes seven classes designed for kids like Gus — and for any children who light up when they make art. The popular Mini Masters mixed media class returns on Monday afternoons, while a new Tuesday afternoon class, Gamecraft, will allow students to create an array of artwork inspired by their favorite video games and characters.

The Arts Center is also offering two classes targeted to homeschool families, following on the tremendous success of a new Homeschool Youth Ceramics class offered earlier this year.

“My kids absolutely love it,” says Harrodsburg mom Amy Raney, whose three kids are all currently enrolled. “It can be a challenge for homeschool families to offer upper-level art classes and I think it’s a great thing for our kids to experience.” Homeschool Youth Ceramics and Homeschool Youth Drawing will both be offered in the upcoming round of classes.

Two additional youth ceramics classes round out the class offerings for children. The family ceramics class “Mudslingers” returns on Saturday afternoons, allowing children to work with clay alongside an adult caregiver. Danville dad Jason Rodgers and his son, Brady, are among the current group of Mudslingers. “I don’t consider myself artistic at all,” admits Jason, “but I really like being able to do something fun with my son.” A kids-only pottery class is scheduled for Saturday mornings.

When adults make art, it can be pretty magical, too. Roberta Jensen of Danville has taken several wheel-thrown pottery classes at the Arts Center, but switched to ceramic sculpture this winter. “It’s very therapeutic,” she says. “Working with the wheel requires greater concentration and focus, but sculpting gives me time to step back and reflect on what I’m working on.”

Chris Conley has taken both wheel-thrown pottery and printmaking at the Arts Center. When asked why he keeps coming back for more classes, he says “I majored in art in college, but my job doesn’t involve a lot of creative expression. Taking classes at the Arts Center gives me an outlet for my creative side. And it’s a good stress-reliever after work!”

The Arts Center will be offering three sections of wheel-thrown pottery, including a new Wednesday evening class beginning March 15. Each class is limited to eight students, allowing for lots of one-on-one instruction. Ceramics Sculpture will again be offered on Thursday evenings, along with Printmaking 101 on Wednesdays. Students ages 14 and up are welcome to enroll in any adult class.

Need-based scholarships are available for all classes. To apply, contact Maggie Shapiro Haskett at education@communityartscenter.net or (859) 236- 4054.

CLASSES

Munchkin & Me Art Classes: 10 a.m. Mondays. A free visual arts class for children ages 18 months–4 years, with an adult caregiver. Experiment with new techniques and new mediums each week! No preregistration required.

Homeschool Youth Ceramics: 9:30-11:30 a.m. Mondays, March 13-May 1, $50. In this introductory class, students will work with clay in a fun, easy-going, imagination-liberating space. Beginning with the design process, students will explore the sculptural, architectural and figurative possibilities that clay offers. Register online at communityartscenter.net

Mini Masters: (K-5th), 4-5 p.m. Mondays for K-2, 5:15-6:15 p.m. for 3-5, March 13 to May 1, $8. Students will discover a new famous artist every week and create artwork inspired by the masters. Register online.

Gamecraft: The Art of Video Games (4th-8th), 4-5:30 p.m. Tuesdays, March 14-May 2, $80.  In this seven-week mixed-media class, students will create video game-inspired artwork using a wide variety of visual arts techniques. Please note that there is no computer programming in this class. Register online.

Homeschool Youth Drawing (K-8th), 1-3 p.m. Thursdays, 1-3 p.m. March 16-May 4, $50. This fun and fast-paced class will teach students strategies for drawing people, faces, landscapes, and much more while introducing some of the fundamental concepts of visual art. Register online.

Pottery for Kids (K-8th) 10 a.m.-noon Saturdays, March 18-May 6, $75. In this introductory class, students will work with clay in a fun, easy-going, imagination-liberating space. Beginning with the design process, students will explore the sculptural, architectural and figurative possibilities that clay offers. Register online.

Mudslingers: Family Ceramics (K-8th with an adult) 1-3 p.m. Saturdays,  March 18-May 6, $150. A new pottery class that kids and their grownups can take together! $150 registration fee is for one adult/child pair. Register online at communityartscener.net.

Printmaking 101 (teens and adults) 7-9 p.m. Wednesdays,  March 15-May 3, $105. This beginner-level class introduces students to the basics of printmaking, including image selection, block preparation and carving, and image transfer techniques. No drawing experience is required! Register online at communityartscener.net.

Wheel-Thrown Pottery (teens and adults) 6:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesdays, March 15-May 3; 7-9 p.m. Thursdays, March 16-May 4; 2-4 p.m. Sundays, March 19-May 7; $145 each. Students will learn the basics of creating bowls, vases, mugs and more using an electric potter’s wheel. Pick the section that works best for your schedule!.Each class is limited to 8 potters, providing lots of one-on-one guidance from the instructor. Register online.

Ceramic Sculpture (teens and adults 7-9 p.m. Thursdays, March 16-May 4, $145.  In this beginner class, students will explore sculpting with clay, creating both representational and abstract pieces.

Register online/more information  at www.communityartscenter.net