We decided to explore themes, ideas, techniques in our own individual
art but with a weekly work session and critique/thesis statement
sessions. As we were all highschool art teachers at the time, we felt
we could learn from each other and work on our individual work at the
same time. Our group evolved, and we were able to teach other new
techniques. For example one of our participants had taken monoprinting
with artist Miriam Shapiro, and we all explored
monoprinting/collage...One of the teachers wanted to work on masks, so
we all did a 'death mask' on each other (we had always had our students
do them, but never actually did them on ourselves...and that was a
learning experience it itself). Then we made 'art' with these masks as
the starting point. I remember the looks on the other teachers as I
poured white glue all over mine and set in on fire, (which by the way
makes a great burnt skin look), and then 'stitched' the pieces of skin
back together with a combination of straight pins and twine....I loved
the tortured look of the pieced, while my colleagues did complete
individual statements from lovely renditions of flowers on the mask, to
a fanatasy fish face....
We found the time for this 'class' because we 'scheduled' it in our busy
lives as if we were actually taking a 'legitimate' class at a college.
And we approached this class with seriousness of purpose.
Many things came from this experience. One of my collegues developed a
style in her drawing which was a breakthrough for her and has sustained
her individual drawing style for the last 10 years, and has allowed her
to be a recepient of a variety of awards and grants...It was rewarding
as her colleague to see the growth in the 'class'. Our expectations for
the class started out as a combination of 'time for our art' and 'let's
be artists' to 'let's have fun'. I was unable to continue with this
group (and they eventually disbanded to work at home...as they, through
the class, started making time for their work at home). I eventually
hooked up with a writing group for my poetry.
As for how much this all costs, well, you CAN negotiate with the Adult
School Coordinator on the fee for the room, which you divide up among
yourselves. We each came to the class each week with our own basics in
supplies, i.e. glue, scissors, pencils, paint, brushes, and then as
things got moving we made decisions about things weeks in advance to be
able to go out and buy what we needed. Had we continued it would have
been great to have had a group show.
As we were all women, our conversations during the class were a
combination of "art" and "family", and it was not only a learning
experience but great FUN!
(I must add, however, that this class was NOT designed for non art
people, so we did not have a math teacher, history teacher in our group,
but would encourage a math teacher who paints, if we knew of one. We
were not starting from "square one" if you know what I mean. We assumed
that all of us would have a solid foundation in art, art history, art
philosophy, and the 'art scene', and we worked from there).