In April, the Art Barn School of Art in Valparaiso will be offering new ceramics classes. Thanks to a grant from Porter County Community Foundation (PCCF), the school was able to purchase equipment and convert what was originally old storage space into a brand new Ceramics Art Studio.
“We are so grateful for the support of the PCCF. Ceramics is one of those arts that requires very specialized equipment that your average person simply can't afford to purchase or house on their own,” said Amy Davis Navardauskas, executive director at Art Barn School of Art. “In order to create, an artist needs a specialized wheel, and clay requires a great deal of heat to reach high enough temperatures to become strong. The new studio will have an electric kiln and five new wheels.”
The history of the Art Barn encompasses the vision of one remarkable individual named Jan Sullivan. Sullivan truly believed that anyone can create art, and through this belief, the Art Barn School of Art was born. Drawn to Jan’s magnetic personality, countless dedicated people helped develop opportunities for beginning artists, encouraged and mentored those coming back to art, and helped raise funds to support the school.
Over the years and many renovations later, the Art Barn School of Art, Inc. became a not-for-profit dedicated to fostering a love of art in its unique environment in 1984. The school offers adult classes, special adult classes, intensive workshops, children’s classes, children’s seasonal classes, and summer camps. At the Art Barn School of Art, Jan Sullivan’s vision continues to be a place of inspiration for the creative soul and support for the artist within.
Until now, all of the curriculum was based on 2-dimensional practices like painting and drawing. The idea for the new studio came about last year when directors at the school began thinking of ways to expand programming options. The school offers mostly two-dimensional arts programs, like painting and drawing, so the progression to three-dimensional art classes seemed like the perfect next step.
“We are so thrilled to begin teaching this process. Ceramic art offerings will allow our current students a new medium to explore to round out their resume,” said Navardauskas. “It will also provide a way for us to draw new audiences while urging students to work with their hands differently. It's different to hold a pencil or brush than it is to be up to your elbows in clay, to feel and form materials directly with your fingers. It can be a very visceral process.”
Navardauskas also said the new program will fill an art education void in the community for young people who lack sufficient arts curriculum in school.
The Art Barn School of Art provides a safe space for anyone who steps through their door.
“It just feels good here. We’ve been here for 40 years on 69 acres in a century-old barn. It's a place where artists can let go of their busy lives, tap into their creativity, be inspired by nature, and create in a peaceful environment,” Navardauskas said.
And you don’t have to be a professional artist, either. All students are prompted to explore their creativity and have faith in their abilities.
“Ignore that voice in your head that says you are not an artist—there is no judgement here. We have experienced instructors, who are teaching artists and helping our students explore the medium while becoming more confident, whether they are learning beginning processes or more advanced techniques,” Navardauskas said.
Registration is now open for the six-week Beginner Ceramics class for adults. Class runs from 6-9 p.m., on Mondays, April 1-May 6, with instructor Gail Woolever. Students will learn how to use the potter’s wheel to create clay objects. The fee is $179 and includes supplies.
Can’t make these dates? Summer sessions will be announced as soon as Art Barn builds their teaching staff.
Anyone who is interested in seeing what Art Barn is all about is welcome to attend the annual Art Blitz on September 21 and 22. The Blitz is a great introduction to Art Barn, where community members can learn all about offerings, take mini classes, hike the trails, participate in interactive activities, and even enjoy food and live music.
Further information about classes and registration can be found at artbarnschool.org or by calling 219-462-9009.
695 N. 400 E., Valparaiso, IN 46383
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