Throughout childhood, creativity is often noted as being essential to young minds and the overall well-being of children across the globe. Though this is true, what some don’t realize is that creativity and the arts are essential in adulthood as well.
The importance of creativity is rooted in the need to express one’s self, to provide a safe space to be ourselves as well as simply create because it is possible. In the process of combining art with expression, we work together to make something beautiful. Here at the Academy, we provide a surplus of arts access for all members of the community and beyond, allowing for gained art exposure amongst artists of all ages.
As the snow begins to melt away and warmer weather comes around once again, now is the perfect time to pick up a new passion to express yourself through. With a unique offering of classes, camps, and events, the Academy invites you to welcome spring and summer on (or off) our campus!
“Art can help us understand the world around us,” says Education Manager, Kelli Johnson. “When we are looking closely at a landscape image or a detailed figure painting, drawing or doing pottery; those help us to stop and appreciate the details. Not only do we observe details, space, light and color but we also can use art as way to reflect our emotions.”
In the Peggy Burruss Art Studio, students can take a number of classes each month. There, they will be able to create their own masterpieces through a variety of art mediums.
Sharpen up your watercolor skills with Intermediate Watercolor or try something new with Painting with Oils, two 6-week courses that provide a vast amount of art knowledge and inspiration for your next piece.
“Not only do students learn the technical aspects of art in our classes, but they have an opportunity to express themselves more freely and grasp a deeper understanding of their emotions as well as how to express them in a positive light,” says Kelli, “I feel like art can be used as a way to release negative thoughts and gain thoughts of rest, joy, and worth. I have never met someone that looked at a rainbow and was sad…art brings joy to people’s lives.”
Just across from the Peggy Burruss Art Studio is the Academy’s May Carter Pottery Studio. In the Pottery Studio, beginner potters and advanced potters alike can try their hands at the wheel to create something beautiful.
With multiple wheels, color swatches, and even kilns: the Pottery Studio has everything you would need to relax with some clay at the end of the day.
One of the more popular pottery classes includes Pottery Night Out, where couples, singles, and friends are welcome to join us for an evening of fun and wheel throwing.
Another community favorite is Young Potters: Beginning Throwing, where nine-year-olds to fourteen-year-olds can get creative by centering and throwing on the wheel, in addition to learning some interesting hand building techniques.
“Taking a pottery class gets you out of your usual environment and puts you into a creative one,” says Director of Visual Arts, Ted Batt. “You connect with other people and the earth through clay. Creating something with our hands is what makes us human – in times of stress in our world, it is important to have a creative outlet and pottery classes are significantly on the rise.”
“Through pottery classes students learn about themselves, explore their creativity, and build relationships with their teacher and their peers. Students continually gain confidence in themselves as they progress with their skills,” concludes Ted.
In addition to these art-based courses, the Academy also offers and hosts a variety of classes that are hosted by skillful instructors in the local community. From learning The Art of Auditioning to Street Jazz & Hip Hop, even to Kids Comics 101 or Shooting Photography 101 – there is a number of resources available within our campus to provide you, your friends, and your family with a creative outlet (or two!)
Now you know all about the classes that the Academy offers on-site, but did you know they’re mobile too? The Academy in Motion art bus is a mobile arts program that brings these classes to people outside of the Academy that might have barriers when accessing our physical campus.
“The AIM bus gives us another way to connect with the community,” says AIM Manager, Stephen Kissel. “Having arts education was always an important thing in my life growing up and it’s been amazing being able to provide that to others.”
He continues, “It seems even more vital nowadays – this bus and program has been a way to bring the arts to people that may not have access easily or have some kind of barrier getting to our physical campus.”
When you spot AIM at a community event you can paint, draw, complete crafts, and more – right there at the bus. Coming up in the future, some community events include the Maker Faire Lynchburg at Randolph College, the LAYSI Summer Blast Off at Miller Park, and several libraries in the surrounding area to get out and get creative!
“The mobility of the bus and having so many materials on-hand at any given time makes it so special!” Stephen notes. “We’re really able to provide a good range of different mediums and techniques by having so much space to store things. It allows us to offer different ways of creating wherever we go – to really nurture that idea of playing and experimenting while creating art.”
More of a theatre lover? We’ve got just the thing for you. Academy Youth Theatre camps are happening now!
With a lineup including Disney classics and beloved tales, join the AYT family and be a part of bringing stories to life on stage. From My Son Pinnochio JR. to The Hunchback of Notre Dame and even Disney’s The Little Mermaid, JR., there’s a camp for everyone to take and a story that everyone can tell.
We understand that not everyone can necessarily afford these classes and camps. This being said, the Academy is privileged to also be able to offer discounts towards our education programs for members of the Greater Lynchburg community.
The education program as a whole provides transformative artistic experiences, and the Education Access Program allows new and returning students of all ages and backgrounds to gain access with the assistance of discounts at various levels.
You keep our studios and stages filled with so much joy, life, and endless amounts of talent. We hope that you can join us at a class or camp this spring and summer to continue doing what art allows us to do best, create.