In-person art classes give chances to be creative
As restrictions loosen and the weather warms, more people are venturing out of the confines of their homes to resume favorite pastimes or pick up a new hobby. Art studios are ramping up in-person classes and workshops to provide a creative outlet.
The Sunny Side Up Studio in Frisco has offered drop-in classes since opening in 2018, and making tie-dye shirts outside has been a common summer sighting, but winter activity slowed down until the holidays. Drop-in classes now take place in the upstairs studio loft, and The Sunny Side Up Studio owner Ashlie Weisel said the format has been working well.
“The culture of Summit County is very spur-of-the-moment …,” she said. “I found over the years that trying to schedule anything kind of was a deterrent. People just wanted to come whenever it worked for their schedule.”
The location allows six participants, usually two at a table, spaced out away from customers on the ground floor.
“If there was one group of four people, they would comfortably be the only ones allowed there at that time,” Weisel said as an example. “We don’t want to push the envelope. … We’ve been cautious with it.”
People also can call ahead and reserve an hour time slot if they wish. The self-guided activities start at $5 for projects such as postcards and go up to $15 or $20 for illustrated or blank canvases. Weisel said it’s been difficult to adjust what she considers her business’s “meat and potatoes,” but she’s glad to see it be well-received by the community.
The studio closed down for a couple of days in February because business was slow, but Weisel expects to soon be open every day with spring break crowds. Typically, Weisel said the studio’s hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Rather than be located at one studio, Becca Spiro and The Frosted Flamingo van travel around the county delivering crafts. Since October, Spiro has offered weekly after-school art classes for children in kindergarten through fifth grade in Frisco.
There have been minor breaks and relocations, but the program has found its home at the Old Community Center. A total of 20 kids can make various crafts while remaining distanced.
“It was really cool to have the program running because, for a lot of kids, it’s the only in-person interaction they have,” Spiro said. “It was great for me because I didn’t have much going on, so the timing worked out. It’s just been an awesome way to do something with the community through the pandemic.”
The next session happens Thursdays from March 18 through April 15 followed by one from April 29 until May 27. The cost is $75 for five weeks, and registration can be found at TownOfFrisco.com.
For kids ages 12-20, Spiro has partnered with Building Hope Summit County’s The Hype program at the Silverthorne Pavilion. Crafts include more advanced options such as string art, wood-burned coasters, trucker hats and dream catchers.
Capped at 10 kids per biweekly Tuesday session, the free events have filled up each time. Spiro believes the relaxed atmosphere has been a boon to the mental health of the teenagers.
Spiro also has spring partnerships in the works with Wild and Free, Mountain Top Children’s Museum and Warren Station Center for the Arts. She has put in her application for a table at the Dillon Farmers Market, as well.
“Things are always up in the air, and hopefully with vaccinations continuing to happen, I can get more definite things on the calendar,” Spiro said. “I’m very optimistic about the summer and events.”
Also hosting biweekly programs for The Hype is Breckenridge Creative Arts. Teens can learn linoleum block printmaking techniques and fabric sculpture Thursday evenings at the Old Masonic Hall.
Younger kids can participate in toddler art, clay classes, comic book drawing and more through BreckCreate. Meanwhile, adults can register for private, in-person workshops, take an outdoor class such as plein air painting at the Breckenridge Nordic Center or use the recently reopened Ceramic Studio time to work on personal art on their own.
While outdoor classes started in January and the youth programs resumed in February, the private adult workshops are the newest offering that use more of BreckCreate’s campus.
“I’m definitely happy to be in-person,” said metalsmithing instructor Kerri Anne Stassen, who mainly teaches private classes. “It’s pretty tough to do a class because not many people have things like a torch at home, including myself. It’s exciting to see people walk out with rings or bracelets that they made.”
Much of the youth options are free, but some virtual and in-person classes have a cost associated with the price of materials and using resources, such as the facility’s kiln. The full lineup of classes and registration can be accessed at BreckCreate.org. Sign-ups for The Hype offerings are found at BuildingHopeSummit.org. Private classes must be booked with Programs Coordinator Drea Edwards, who can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are still options to be safer at home, as well. In addition to BreckCreate’s paid Zoom courses, both The Sunny Side Up Studio and BreckCreate have virtual classes on Facebook while The Frosted Flamingo does virtual activities for adults through The Hype. The Sunny Side Up and The Frosted Flamingo have to-go kits that can be done at home, too.
“It would have been easier to stop it all together, but a part of me sees that as losing track of our roots and what we built this studio on,” Weisel said. “I just wasn’t ready to let that part go yet.”
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