Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. ~Pablo Picasso
Art is something that we all appreciate and acknowledge the importance of, yet, rarely have time to devote ourselves to. History and Math, Work and Home, TV and Shopping, always seem to prevail, making it hard to squeeze Art in our to-do list. However, without it our lives would be empty and mundane, revolving around the vicious cycle eat-sleep-work.
Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one. ~Stella Adler
Fortunately, our community has a chance to incorporate art in our lives. ARTCanDo is a new, non-profit Community Art Center in Washington ,committed to art education, awareness and exploration. Located on 618 and 620 W. 5th Street, ARTCanDo offers a unique and innovative environment where children and adults can discover and express themselves. It is the goal of the non-profit organization to foster art appreciation and knowledge of the benefits of creativity and the visual arts.
ARTCanDo is a very young non-profit organization, founded by Beverly Ann Wells, an artist with a vision. Led by the belief that art, properly made, enhances and enriches our lives, Beverly Ann had the idea to offer the opportunity to create art to children and adults alike. Passionate about her new mission, she converted her living room into a classroom, and started giving classes to people she knew – her nephews, children of close friends, neighbours. Once a week, kids would gather at Beverly Ann’s home, eager to create art using different materials and their imagination. The word quickly spread, the group of children expanded, and ARTCanDo rented the house next door to be able to accommodate the new students.
Art is the colors and textures of your imagination. ~Meghan, Los Cerros Middle School, 1999
ARTCanDo provides a place where art happens. The quality diverse programming is built to stimulate the creative potential of the students. As Beverly Ann put it, “Our classes offer a much needed alternative to the academics and athletics.” ARTCanDo embraces both, the historically aesthetic Fine Art classes, such as Drawing, Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, as well as the Practical Arts which teach a particular skill or craft, such as Ceramics, Collage, Print Making, Fiber Arts, Metal and Woodworking. All classes are taught by professional local artists, who are happy to help broaden the art appreciation in the community.
Art is your personal diary where you may color your thoughts and emotions on a page. ~Sara, Los Cerros Middle School, 1999
I attended one of Beverly Ann’s classes at ARTCanDo, and I was amazed by the imagination and creativity of the children. They all eagerly embarked on the project for the day, decorating a miniature foamboard house, and they were given the freedom to do whatever their imagination told them. Beverly Ann and her assistant were always around to help or suggest what materials to use. One of her first students, Owen, gave an introductory tour to two new girls, who were quickly at ease and were working on their houses. The task was to decorate the outside walls and roof, but Owen decided do some interior design, too. One of the students, amazed at his work, asked him how did he do that. He answered, “I just used my imagination.” I think that sums up ARTCanDo and its purpose at its best.
Art is your emotions flowing in a river of imagination. ~Devin, Los Cerros Middle School, 1999
The work that Beverly Ann and the Board of Directors of ARTCanDo do is definitely not easy, but it is very rewarding. They are getting ready to launch their new website on January 1st, where you will be able to find a lot of information on the different classes and education programs. If you would like to teach an art class or help as a volunteer, don’t hesitate to call Beverly Ann. She welcomes all community members to be involved and take part in ARTCanDo. Currently some of the children’s art is displayed in the window of the old Otto building on Elm Street. It is a delightful array of art possibilities that makes you stop, stare and dream. If you have a place that you would like ARTCanDo to showcase with student works, get in touch and e-mail Beverly Ann at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Art is a shadow of what a person is thinking… a small glimpse of what they hold inside. Little secrets, regrets, joys… every line has its own meaning. ~Sarah, Los Cerros Middle School, 1999
If ARTCanDo sounds like the thing for you, you can always call and take a tour of the classrooms to get a better feel of the place. The Children’s After School Art sessions start on January 10th, every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. The cost is $15 per class, plus $4 supply fee. Private lessons are also available. Beginning January 31st, ARTCanDo offers some adult painting classes: Acrylic Painting with Marty Coulter, Oil Painting with Beverly Ann Wells and Watercolor with Miriam Crone. The cost is $120 per 6 week session, plus materials. If you are interested in fiber arts, such as shibori dyeing, block printing or batik you can take a class with Katie Kantley, the first one starting February 1st. To register, or to receive more information, visit artcando.org (coming Jan. 1, 2012) or phone Beverly Ann Wells at 314.706.3961. Up your daily dose of art – it will do you good! 🙂
Art is an adventure that never seems to end. ~Jason, Los Cerros Middle School, 1999
There is so much more I can write on ARTCanDo, but I will let you visit the classrooms and feel for yourself the wonderful creative atmosphere on West 5th Street. We can only admire and encourage Beverly Ann’s brave mission to make art an essential part of our lives. ARTCanDo has been received warmly by the community and the students and their parents have many testimonies as to how the Non Profit Community Center has enriched their lives.
Last, but not least, I would like to share Beverly Ann’s view on art:
“Art opens our minds and our hearts to possibilities, to new ways of seeing and thinking. To think creatively requires keen observation, heightened sensibilities, and an open mind. It requires us to listen, not only to that small voice within, but to the voices around us as well. There is a need for us to recognize the art of others, to be enlightened. By its nature, art encourages diversity and fosters tolerance. The mixing of ideas, perspectives, and skills allows us to connect as individuals. Art encourages community.”
Art is pictures straight from the heart. ~Ben, Los Cerros Middle School, 1999
To get in touch with ARTCanDo, call Beverly Ann Wells at 314.706.3961 or e-mail her at email@example.com. Don’t forget to visit their website (after Jan. 1st): artcando.org