At AAC’s Free Expressions class, great art and good times are made and had with upcycled materials. All the artists (young and old) who come to Free Expressions find something that sparks their imagination and inspires them to create.
Originally, we pieced together the supplies for this class from RAMPart and AAC Studio Artists’ donations as well as buying materials from the hardware store and lumberyard. Last winter, individual donors started to take notice and wanted their gently used things to go to this class. Then recently we had two fabulous donations of art materials from Goodwill of Southern Oregon and ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum.
Last week, Sara-Kate Parker, Coordinator of Marketing and Development, and Lisa O’Connor, Chief Operation Officer of Goodwill Industries of Southern Oregon, delivered several boxes of primo art supplies and fun objects collected by Goodwill coworkers for the upcycling and assemblage projects of the Free Expressions artists.
And last December, Leo Palombo, Exhibit Manager of ScienceWorks, pulled together several tubs of awesome metal rods, wires, whirlygigs, and robot-looking pieces from past museum exhibits, and the Free Expressions artists are still finding new and creative artistic uses for all the materials.
The Free Expressions participants, teachers, and everyone at AAC are so grateful for the wonderful stuff!
We also want to give a special thank you to all the individual, and often anonymous, art supply donors we have had over the past several months. We’ve gotten some pretty cool stuff from individual donors: artists cleaning out their studios, farmers with extra wool, self-employed business owners with random media we can use for art projects, and more. AAC integrates most of the donations into the Community Classroom supplies for Free Expressions and our other classes and puts materials we have a surplus of in the RAMPart bins, where anyone can get donated art supplies for free. (Click here for RAMPart’s flyer)
Check out the amazing art created by the Free Expressions artists using donated materials:
See more of the artists’ work on AAC’s Facebook page in the Free Expressions photo album.
Want to make your own art? Take part in Ashland Art Center’s wonderful free classes!
Check them out below:
Free Expresssions! with Jo An Manzone
Thursdays, 3:30 – 4:30 pm | Free | For children and families (ages six and under need parent/guardian present)
For kids of all ages! This engaging and engrossing class provides participants with a range of projects and materials to choose from. Make collages, assemblage sculptures, paintings, bracelets, robot rockets, dream catchers, felted friends, and more! Have fun following your creativity from one medium to the next and make something special to take home.
Art Freaks moderated by Theresa Swanson
Sundays, 5:00 – 6:30 pm | Free or $5 to use Classroom supplies | For the young emerging artist
Join 20-and-30-something artists for an open studio session to work on projects and connect with fellow artists. Newcomer Theresa Swanson moderates this drop-in session and is excited to get started! Participants can use and experiment with the Classroom supplies, including paints, pastels, paper, and more, for $5. It’s free if you prefer to bring your own materials! Please note, you must arrive before 6 pm.
AAC also has a free, weekly ceramics class for students with special needs. The Enrichment Ceramics class is free thanks to a grant from two local donors, and it’s all about enriching the lives of its students through art practice and building friendships. Learn more Enrichment Ceramics here.
To learn more about Goodwill of Southern Oregon, check out their website and Facebook page. Also, be sure to attend their upcoming Earth Day exhibition, where local artists (including AAC’s own Sharon Lilly Bowes!) will have their upcycled fashions included in a fashion runway show at both Rogue Valley Earth Day, April 19, 11 – 4, at ScienceWorks, and Southern Oregon University’s Earth Day Celebration. Learn more here: www.sogoodwill.org/earthday and here: roguevalleyearthday.net
To learn more about ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum, check out their website and Facebook page. ScienceWorks is busy gearing up for the second-annual TinkerFest on May 24 and 25! Rogue Hack Lab, the car take apart, sand castle building, and more are back for this awesome event. Find out about all the booths, projects, and activities planned for this year’s event, here: www.scienceworksmuseum.org
Artist studios, gallery space, and a strong education program: a winning combination? Yes, indeed, the southern Oregon community has embraced the Ashland Art Center (AAC) which provides all those services in an attractive space on Ashland’s E Main street.
The Ashland Art Center has enjoyed rapid growth in its five and a half years of existence. But quickly expanding programs and services have also brought multiplying challenges to the Board and staff. In August of 2013 Denise Baxter, AAC’s executive director, contacted me regarding a proposal to the Ford Family Foundation to request support for the creation of a three year development plan. The attractive studios in which local artists work, the intriguing gallery and the array of education programs have attracted both foundation grant funds and generous support from donors. Nevertheless, the clear need for sustainable sources of income and a plan to support these exceptional programs was evident.
The Ford Family Foundation was generous, and interested in the future of the Ashland Art Center. They provided sufficient funds to hire a consultant who would help map a stable future for AAC.
Denise Baxter’s vision and the energy and dedication of the Board of Directors impressed me a great deal and I agreed to conduct a survey of their development opportunities and to make recommendations regarding their future. My first task was to interview a variety of people who had had experience with AAC. Board members, donors, artists, community members—all were eager to describe their experience with the Art Center. The results of the informal survey were that everyone admired Denise’s vision, admired the creativity of the studio artists and the glow of the gallery, admired the opportunities to see artists at work. Descriptions of their long-range future included a sculpture studio space, expanded studios, an artist in residence, and an extended Art Inspires Ashland.
Even so, not enough of the southern Oregon community knows or appreciates the Ashland Art Center. Their early work will be to increase their visibility in the area. Just coming through the door of the Center is an inspiring experience; then strolling through the studios, seeing works in process, intrigues and invites the imagination.
The next part of our planning process will include identifying foundations and individuals who share the vision of support for artists—both their work and their opportunities for sales, community education in the visual arts, and the balance between earned and donated income.
Given the level of admiration and enthusiasm the community currently demonstrates toward the Ashland Art Center, their future is filled with promise. With hard work, good marketing, and thoughtful contact with those who share the love for the visual arts, the Ashland Art Center has a bright future.
Thalia Keple‘s weekly Jewelry Open Studio is fabulous. Each Sunday morning, you’ll learn to make a new project that will give you a jewelry-making technique to add to a growing repertoire and a lovely, hand-crafted gift you can keep or give away!
So far, students have learned to make earrings and bracelets with various kinds of beads, earring hooks, wires, and structures.
For beginners, Thalia will get you comfortable with the basics, and as you progress you’ll find out how easy and addictive it is to make your own jewelry. If you’re brand new, Thalia starts you off with learning to make simple loops, a basic skill that helps you make almost anything.
For intermediate to advanced jewelry-makers, you’ll have a great time working with Thalia – she loves to experiment and share her knowledge and process with students. She’s currently experimenting with making her own polymer beads. Also, she is looking forward to making paper beads in the Open Studio.
Thalia is an AAC Studio Artist whose jewelry is gorgeous and easily recognizable. Her signature needlewoven necklaces are miniature tapestries mixed with beads and metals. Many are quite dramatic and have talisman-like qualities. She has worked with fibers for over 40 years and has had a fascinating journey from sewing her first apron as a child to her current interests in jewelrymaking, weaving, and fiber arts. Visit her studio at the top of the stairs at AAC and see her lovely work in the gallery.
Come check Jewelry Open Studio! It’s just $12 to drop in, or if you pre-register for any five classes they’re $10 each. Tools and some materials are provided, including basic beads, donated jewelry, wires, and more. But there are also some optional, project kits Thalia puts together for between $3 – $6. Want an easy way to get started? Grab some old beaded earrings, necklaces, or bracelets from home and bring them in to upcycle them into something wonderful. See you Sundays!
SUNDAYS, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
This Month’s Classes:
The next two Sundays, well-known Ashland artisan and AAC Studio Artist Stephanie Gould will be subbing for Thalia. Stephanie will be teaching cabachon beading basics in two parts. There will be a choice of cabachons already attached to a piece of material, and a selection of beads to choose from for a $4 material fee. This is an incredible opportunity to learn this beading technique while creating something lovely to take home.
Then, Thalia will be back March 31 to teach us how to make wrapped wire rings.
Free Expressions, once a monthly free class, is now every Thursday, 3:30 – 4:30 pm. This popular class features awesome materials for maximum creativity and art creation. There are tables of supplies in various media, including: assemblage, painting/drawing, collage, felting, jewelry, and more!
We have a teacher and two TAs who help get participants started making art and then you’ll be off and running. Recommended for children of all ages, this is a great opportunity for the whole family to have a blast making something fun to take home.
Ages 6 and younger need a supervising adult present. All parents must sign in at the start of the class with their emergency contact information. So you know – Parents are encouraged to stay and have fun making their own art!
See you Thursdays @ AAC!
“Art therapy is a way of addressing issues without having to rely on verbalizing everything. This is very helpful with trauma or other emotional life experiences that are often beyond words. No art experience or skill is necessary to take advantage of this way of allowing the unconscious to speak and the Self to heal.
As a registered art therapist I give my clients a safe space where expression without judgment is supported. I work with adolescents and adults in both brief and long-term art psychotherapy. I work with people to transform trauma and anxiety, as well as those questioning sexuality and gender identity. The modality and practice of art psychotherapy combined with my background in depth psychology create a therapeutic experience that supports your own internal wisdom in the process. I am also practical and provide immediate skills to my clients for managing stress, changing detrimental thought patterns and behaviors, and gaining insight.
I have worked for more than a decade with people who have experienced severe trauma in childhood. I work with both survivors of sex abuse and offenders (within a youth correctional facility). I also have 15 years of experience working with LGBTQ youth and adults.”