Unleash Your Latent Picasso:
Take an Art Class!
By Karen Edwards
Step inside a Short North gallery, and suddenly you want to paint, draw, sculpt, blow glass, make jewelry, weave, or somehow express yourself artistically. After all, art inspires art. But if your last creative endeavors were those finger paintings your mother hung on the refrigerator door, why not schedule some time this fall to take an art class? Unleash your latent Picasso, Chihuly, or whatever artist lies deep within you. If nothing else, you'll have some great new art to hang on your mom's (or your own) refrigerator door.
The good news is that there are plenty of classes out there to help you create the art of your dreams. The bad news is that you may have to leave the Short North to find them. While area galleries offer plenty of inspiration, few of them offer art classes on a regular basis. Keep an eye on Web sites, or talk to artists or gallery owners to discover the occasional gallery-sponsored art class, workshop or educational activity. Still, even if you have to venture beyond the arch lights to find a class for you - you won't have to travel far.
For this article, the Short North Gazette has interviewed representatives of nearby schools, galleries, museums and studios that offer year-round art classes. By no means does this article include them all. There are art classes throughout the city and in the suburbs, so our list is only a sample of what's available. Because many of the places we talked to offer similar classes, we've chosen to list the location first, but all classes are printed in bold so you can quickly scan the article for specific courses that interest you. We've provided as much information as we can about each class and location to help you find a good fit.
No matter where you go to learn, the point is to start. "Everyone's creative," says Rebecca Kentosh, owner of the Arts Annex in Grandview. "I tell people 'Take an art class. You'll discover something about yourself you never knew.'"
Your journey of self-discovery can begin at any of the following locations (and many more not listed here).
Studio 16 may be the only Short North gallery to offer art classes on a regular basis. Here, you'll find classes in beginning and intermediate drawing, painting and sculpture, as well as workshops in comic book illustration and precious metal clay. Each class is two-hours long and held over eight weeks. Classes are structured around a syllabus handed out the first week, and gallery owner Doug Fordyce, who teaches both drawing and painting, says he also gives a 30-minute homework assignment each week. If you've always dreaded homework, relax! Fordyce says the assignments are fun to do, and each assignment is saved to create an ongoing portfolio of your progress.
Costs for classes range from $200 to $250, not including supplies. The $250 price (for intermediate drawing) gains students admittance to "studio night" during the weeks they're enrolled. Here, each Tuesday, from 7 until 10 p.m., artists gather to draw figure studies from models. (Drawing students who want more practice can also head to the Ohio Art League on Sundays from 1 until 4 p.m., where models also pose for serious artists, 18 years and older.)
This fall, look for Studio 16's popular comic book illustration workshop to expand to an eight-week class. "Students will produce a ten-page comic book they can submit for publication," says Fordyce. Gadzooks! How's that for mixing business and pleasure?
For more information about classes at Studio 16, call Doug Fordyce at 297-5909.
The newly opened Arts Annex in nearby Grandview, offers two-hour adult classes in drawing, painting, ceramics and found objects/mixed media, but owner Rebecca Kentosh says she's flexible, and will create classes on demand. If someone wants to take a watercolor class, for example, Kentosh will help locate four other people (five is the minimum needed for a class), and find an instructor to teach.
Classes at this studio are six weeks long, and cost $16 per each two-hour session, with an additional $25 for supplies. Kentosh says she also offers community artists an opportunity to stop by any time within the Annex's hours of operation and take advantage of its "open studio" policy. For a fee ranging from $6-$12, artists can use the facility's equipment - like its pottery wheel - to create their own art. Eventually, a darkroom and woodshop will be available as well.
To learn more about the Arts Annex's upcoming classes, contact Rebecca Kentosh at 429-0003, or check the Web site, www.artsannex.com.
If your last visit to the Short North's Riley Gallery left you wishing you could create those colorful glass swirls, jewelry, and sculptures you saw, then check out the Glass Axis in Grandview. This studio offers beginning, intermediate and advanced classes in hot, warm and cold-glass techniques. Studio director Bridget Boss says hot-glass classes are the most popular. "You're using a metal rod to gather molten glass so there is an element of risk and danger that appeals to people," she says. Students manipulate hot glass into paperweights, or blow the glass into forms. Using the other glass techniques, students can make colorful glass beads or stained glass art.
Most classes here last six weeks, although the studio also offers one-day workshops for creating a paperweight, holiday ornament, or, this fall, a glass flower in honor of the exhibit by glass artist Dale Chihuly, which will be displayed at the Franklin Park Conservatory.
If you're unfamiliar with glass and its artistic possibilities, Boss suggests you start with the "Taste of Glass" class, offering a sample of all three techniques. You'll pay anywhere from $65 for the paperweight workshop to $435 for more advanced classes. Supplies are included in the price, however. Students are asking for more and more advanced level instruction, says Boss, so this fall there will be nine advanced-level classes, ranging from color technique to molten sculpture.
Call Bridget Boss, 291-4250 for more information about Glass Axis classes, or check out their Web site at www.glassaxis.org
Speaking of sculpting, sculptor Jim Mason, who created the forms for the Topiary Garden, has recently retired from his 30-plus years of teaching sculpture at the Cultural Arts Center (CAC) - but sculpting classes continue at CAC under different instructors, and Mason returns there this fall to teach a class in bronze casting.
Students who register for this class will complete a 5-10 pound bronze sculpture, so if you're looking to decorate your mom's refrigerator, you may want to move on to some of CAC's other offerings &endash; for example, drawing or painting from costumed models, or painting urban landscapes. (This class is held outdoors.) If decorating the refrigerator doesn't matter to you, you may also opt for such courses as weaving, surface design (i.e. tie-dye, wax-resist, etc.), jewelry making, copper enameling, polymer clay, precious metal clay or ceramics.
CAC mixes students of all experience levels, so you're as likely to receive some helpful advice from a more experienced classmate as you are your instructor. "Everyone here is friendly, and everyone helps everyone," says Jennifer Robinson, CAC program coordinator. Prices here vary but are reasonable. Classes are three hours long, and most run for eight weeks. Students can also display their finished work in the CAC shop. This year, student art will also be displayed in CAC's main hall gallery from Sept. 14 - Oct. 16.
To learn more about CAC classes, contact Jennifer Robinson, at 645-7047.
Probably the best-known and most-respected venue in the city offering art classes is the Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD). CCAD has a long history of providing art education to grades one through 12, but three years ago the college opened its doors to the adult community as well, and word is spreading that this is the definitive place to come to study figure drawing, says CCAD associate provost, Char Norman. "We like to say we could teach a stone to draw," she says.
Students draw from models, and the class itself includes lessons in anatomy and proportion to help bring the figures to life. If you're more an animal than a people person, however, register for animal portrait painting, or let your imagination run riot with children's storybook illustration. CCAD also offers classes in cartooning, photography, ceramics, and just about any medium you'd like to create in: acrylics, pastels, watercolor, and oils.
While a number of students are attracted to CCAD's drawing class, many more come here for computer classes, including instruction in Photoshop and Web design. Everyone from hobby artists to serious artists can also benefit from the school's Introduction to Design and Color. Most classes here are 12 weeks long, and many are taught by CCAD faculty members and former students. You'll be in a class of mixed skill levels - including CCAD students earning credit &endash; but Norman assures beginners they won't feel awkward. "Our instructors know how to teach to all skill levels," she says. Classes are generally three hours in length, and vary in price.
For information on CCAD's entire offering, contact the continuing education office at 222-3248, or check out the CCAD Web site at www.ccad.edu to review courses and download a registration form.
The CCAD classes are designed to fulfill the college's educational mission. If you're looking for something a little more along the craft rather than the fine-art line, the Ohio Craft Museum in Grandview invites you to their "Craft View Night,"an opportunity to stop by their gallery after work, see the current exhibit, enjoy some refreshment, then try your own hand at making a craft. Cindy Kerr, the museum's education director, calls it an "after-work art party," and the event runs on specific dates every other month at the museum. Participants can come from 5 to 6:30 p.m., or from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Cost is $5 for members, $7 for non-members. (Materials are supplied.)
Slated for September is a workshop in polymer clay, and in November, there will be instruction in decorative lanterns. The museum also offers a family workshop, "Hand in Hand," where children and adults work together on projects. This is a monthly event, $7 for adults, $3 per child, and single adults are welcome to come join the fun. Again, materials are included in the cost.
To learn more about the dates and classes offered during "Craft View Night" or about the "Hand in Hand" program, call Cindy Kerr at 486-4402 or visit their Web site at www. ohiocraft. org
Finally, returning to the Short North, and staying with the craft theme (although there is art in every craft), Byzantium offers a wealth of classes to those inspired by the store's colorful and exotic bead inventory.
"We had to offer classes out of necessity," says Joyce Griffiths, Byzantium's owner. "People kept asking for them." A good deal of one-on-one instruction occurs even now at the counter, as employees demonstrate a quick technique or two to customers. "We have hand-out sheets for techniques that are frequently requested, but too complicated to demonstrate at the counter," says Griffiths.
Students can choose from any of 60 classes per "semester" (a four-month period), ranging from beginning bead-stringing to wire wrapping and embroidering with beads. Or try one of the fused-glass classes where you create your own beads. "We emphasize technique over design," says Griffiths, "because we want students to use their own creativity. That's really where the fun is."
Classes here are generally single sessions, over three hours, although intermediate classes can go into two weeks, over seven hours. Byzantium also offers "mini-classes" where, for an hour's investment of time and a small fee, students not only leave with a finished product (like earrings), but a beading technique which can be applied to other projects. Costs for classes range from $25-$100 (supplies included) and are taught by employees, as well as experts from outside the store.
For more information on classes, contact Byzantium, 291-3130, and ask to be placed on the mailing list.
Griffiths is quick to second the opinion that there are plenty of classes available for those who want to create art. "We're not the only game in town," she says.
With all these opportunities (and more) so close at hand, why not give your own creativity a try this fall? You owe it to yourself - and of course, to all those empty refrigerator doors.
Learn About Art
889-A Williams Avenue
1088 N. High Street
Cultural Arts Center (CAC)
139 West Main Street
Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD)
107 N. Ninth Street
1341 Norton Avenue
Ohio Art League
952 N. High Street
Ohio Craft Museum
1665 West 5th Avenue
431 West Third Avenue
Short North/Harrison West