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The Scarlet & Black

Arts Council offers new fall courses

Photo by Andrew Tucker.
Photo by Andrew Tucker.

If you’re looking to learn a new skill or flex your creative muscles this fall, then the Grinnell Area Arts Council has some classes for you.

The Arts Council will be offering six different arts classes this fall for Grinnellians of all ages and experiences, part of the Arts Council’s “Arts Academy”— the arts education branch of the Council.

The schedule of courses is chosen by the Arts Council through a combination of community interest and teacher availability. The Council also strives to incorporate a diverse array of subjects oriented towards a diverse array of students, according to Erik Jarvis ’12, the Events and Facilities Manager for the Arts Council. Some of this fall’s classes are designed for younger students, while others are designed for adults. All of them are designed with engagement and learning as the priority, and while the classes do have a small cost, Jarvis said the price is not an issue for the Arts Council.

“As long as we’re not losing a bunch of money on a class, we don’t really think about [the cost],” he said. “If there’s good engagement and people are going to learn something then that’s kind of what our mission is focused on.”

The classes are designed almost entirely by the teachers, with little oversight by the Arts Council. Anyone with a little interest and talent can design and teach a class, and Jarvis invited Grinnell College students to reach out if they are interested in bringing their talents to the Grinnell community.

Creative Movement, a dance class for students ages 5 to 9, was started two years ago by two Grinnell College students, Ruby Lynn ’20 and Jamie Friedman ’20.

New to the list of classes this year is Dance for Musical Theatre, in which students will learn basic dance techniques and apply them to short dances to “music from your favorite musicals,” according to information provided by the Arts Council. The new managing director of the Arts Council, Monica St. Angelo, will teach that class.

Other classes offered include Beginning Quilting, Ceramics, Let’s Make A T-Shirt Together and Neverland Juniors.

Many of the classes are held in the Grinnell Arts Center, but since The Stew Art Studios opened in the spring of 2017, more and more classes have been moved to The Stew. To Jarvis, there is a distinct difference between the two spaces.

The Arts Center, with its tile floors, high ceilings and carefully curated art gallery, is a more intimidating space, whereas The Stew is a place to experiment without fear of “making a mess,” according to Jarvis.

That freedom to experiment is what makes these classes special.

“Basically we just want people to feel comfortable making things,” Jarvis said. “[The Arts Center] traditionally has been a little more, like, ‘I’m going to go see the gallery;’ ‘I’m going to go see a play.’ The Stew I think has kind of helped get some more momentum in the classes the past year because it’s more like, ‘I’m going to make stuff over here.’”

To Jarvis, what’s ultimately special about Arts Academy classes is that they are “for the community and by the community.” This season all the teachers are from Grinnell, and for $30-$60, anyone can sign up. The classes are capped at a maximum number of students though, so it’s recommended to register soon. Beginning Quilting, for example, is already full.

If you cannot make it to the classes, the Arts Council has plenty of other events planned this fall.

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