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The Scarlet & Black

Henna draws on community skills

The Grinnell Area Arts Council (GAAC) prides itself in the role it plays fostering all kinds of creativity in the Grinnell community. Whether putting on play productions, offering art classes or bringing local artists’ work to exhibits in town, the GAAC issynonymous with all things artistic in Grinnell. Community-wide workshops for a variety of ages span the spectrum of creative expression from swing dance and theatre classes, to hosting pottery and artist residency programs. On Nov. 7 and Nov. 14, the GAAC will be hosting a Henna Workshop. Both workshops will be taught by a community member, Divya Grimes, and will take place at the Grinnell Arts Center on 926 Broad Street.

According to Kathlyn Cabrera ’14, a GAAC apprentice and a Studio Art major, the workshops are a way for locals to volunteer to demonstrate a craft, hobby or skill that they are confident and comfortable in teaching to others.

“The workshops themselves are a really good testament to how much the community wants to share their artistic skills,” said Cabrera. “The point of our classes is to build community.”

Cabrera also shared that Grimes has had past experience with teaching Henna workshops and that the workshops will focus on the hands-on learning of properly and artistically using Henna. Grimes was featured in the recent Creative Community GAAC campaign highlighting local artists’ talents.

With a fee of $15, the Henna Workshop will be divided into two sessions, representing two age ranges. The first workshop, which took place on Nov. 7, was designated for middle school students. The second workshop, for teens and adults, will take place on Nov. 14 from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. According to Cabrera, anyone from the College is welcome and encouraged to attend.

Henna is a plant-based dye that temporarily pigments the skin. A centuries-old practice, Henna has been used to create intricate and personal designs on fabric, hair, and skin. For those concerned with the permanent effect of tattoos, Henna is a great alternative that maintains the aesthetic and artistic element of body art.

“It’s definitely more interesting because it’s body art rather than drawing. It feels a lot more personal,” said Cabrera. “Also, it stays on your skin for a while, so you keep it for a little bit and show it off.”

The Henna workshop is a prime example of the educational mission of the GAAC. While art is an expression of creativity that is generally shared by exhibition, Cabrera emphasized that the goal of the GAAC is not simply about showing off art: building community and education are equally important.

“We have a gallery [in the arts center], but we really try to bring artists in and allow community members to share knowledge. The classes and workshops really focus on the type of arts education that we’re trying to promote in town,” explained Cabrera.

Students, faculty, and community members can register for the Henna Workshop online at


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