RAM Talks Art: Many places in Rockford offer art classes

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How much art do you have on display in your house, apartment or office? Do you have a favorite photograph, a poster from a memorable concert or movie, or a piece of artwork you bought or, perhaps, made yourself?

Some people choose to surround themselves with art, while others are content to have some just here and there. You may have more art in your life than you realize; artists design the buildings in which we live and work, the furniture we use, and the clothes we wear.

Most of us go through life paying little attention to the art around us, but what about those people who want to learn or improve drawing, painting or sculpting skills—or develop a deeper appreciation for the visual arts?

Following are a few suggestions to get you started:

If you are enrolled at Rock Valley College (RVC), consider taking an art class such as Drawing and Composition, Ceramics or Introduction to Visual Arts. RVC has a drawing and ceramics studio on campus, although you must be a registered RVC student—and enrolled in one of their art classes—to use their facilities and supplies. Course catalogs are available at www.rockvalleycollege.edu.

The Rockford Art Guild (www.rockfordartguild.com) also hosts workshops led by local artists that are designed to introduce students to different media, including oil painting, acrylics and collage. Upcoming workshops feature artists such as Michael Gerry, Barbara Burns and Barbara Santucci.

Rockford Area Arts Council (RAAC) is another great resource for anyone with an interest in art. Their artist directory can provide you with a list of local artists who are available for individualized instruction or private lessons. If you are looking to commission a work of art, RAAC can also provide you with the names of artists and the media in which they work. For more information, log on to www.artsforeveryone.com.

A rare opportunity to draw from live models is available at an uninstructed Life Drawing Studio class held weekly in the lower level Anderson Gallery of Rockford Art Museum (RAM). The use of both male and female models allows both the inexperienced as well as the accomplished artist to practice drawing the different shapes and sizes of the human form. Bring your own drawing materials; easels and drawing boards are provided.

RAM also has studio space available at its newly-renovated Art Annex. This brightly-colored, glass-fronted workspace is directly opposite the museum entrance and is ideal for instructional workshops or artistic demonstrations. Hourly or daily rates are available.

Rockford Art Museum’s darkroom facilities may also be rented by the hour to students currently enrolled in (or those who have completed) a photography course at RAM within the year. Rental fees include the cost of paper and chemicals.

Popular local artist Christy Andres holds instructional classes at RAM’s Studio C, in the lower level of Riverfront Museum Park. Christy’s students work independently but are provided with individual instruction in a variety of media, including watercolor, acrylic, pastel, charcoal, pencil and oil painting. For more information, call the RAM Education Department at (815) 972-2874.

Rockford Photo Club, formerly Rockford Lens & Shutter Club, meets the first and second Thursday of each month in Classroom 1 of Riverfront Museum Park (RMP), 711 N. Main St., Rockford. This group ensures seasoned photographers as well as beginners have opportunities for group discussions, workshops, photo shoots, exhibitions and competitions. Find out more about the club online at www.rockfordphotoclub.com.

New Dimension Studios and Gallery at Womanspace (www.womanspace-rockford.org) has a variety of programs for those interested in art, including drawing, watercolor, painting and ceramics. Womanspace, 3333 Maria Linden Drive, Rockford, hosts open studio sessions during the summer for those who have recently been enrolled in an art class at New Dimension Studios. Fees are assessed by the hour or day. Clay is available for purchase, and glazing, and firing costs are included in the hourly fee.

Whether you’re looking for individual instruction, workshops, group discussions, lectures or classes, Rock Valley College, Rockford Area Arts Council, Rockford Art Guild, Rockford Art Museum, Rockford Photo Club and Womanspace can help make your artistic pursuits possible.

Rockford Art Museum Education Coordinator Stacey Sauer can be reached at ssauer@rockfordartmuseum.org.

from the Aug 1-7, 2007, issue

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