I celebrated my birthday this month with the inspired idea of trying something brave and new: getting a piercing in the helix of my ear.
For some people, that may not seem very brave or exciting, but, wow, does it still hurt, and I cant even sleep on that ear yet. I began wondering what the point of this brave new act was until I was reminded during an adult art class at the Durango Arts Center.
I have enjoyed working at the DAC as the education coordinator for almost a year now. The programs I inherited include Art After School, which is offered in the Durango School District 9-R elementary schools once a week during the school year. The classes give students the option to have an additional hour of art per week in the convenience of their own school. The wonderful after school teachers make this program outstanding. Bonnie Ward, Lynn Millar, Ben McCarthy, Linda Smith and Kristen Smith are the creative geniuses behind the innovative projects.
Another program I inherited is Girls Opportunity through Arts and Leadership, or G.O.A.L.. Now in its ninth year, G.O.A.L. includes a two-week summer intensive for middle school girls to learn art and leadership skills in a safe and inspired atmosphere. The girls are invited to participate after being nominated by a teacher or other adult, and local women artists are the teachers. The curriculum includes art techniques and practices while incorporating skills in resilience, respect, healthy boundaries and character. Jane Steele, who began this program at the DAC, is coordinating this summers session titled, True Colors.
Since September, we have added more kids, teens and adult classes.
During the school year, we started Art for Teens on Monday afternoons. Kristen Smith explored screen printing, drawing and sculpture with the teens. There was an early-release Friday class for elementary students with Millar. This Friday class will continue through the summer, and I am excited to be teaching it.
We also have hired some fantastic artists to teach adults. Joan Russell, Pete Campbell, Christine Trout, Mary Dengler-Frey, Linda Smith, Pat Senecal and others will share their talent, vision and expertise.
The adult classes in our new Education Studio began last fall. It is these brave adult students I have come to admire, especially after my ear-piercing experience. I have realized how much courage it takes to try something new in hopes of enhancing your life. Adults tend to be far more self-critical than kids, which makes risk-taking very difficult. So thanks to all you brave souls who have ventured into art and supported the DAC Education Program.
As an elementary art student reminded me last week, If you talk so much like an adult, no one will understand you.
Our classes are continuously being updated and posted on the DAC website at www.durango arts.org under the education tab.
Sandra Butler is the education coordinator for the Durango Arts Center. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.