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Summer Workshops at Palmer Museum to Offer Courses for Older Children

by and on June 15, 2013 8:20 AM

From self-portraits to water colors, summer workshops at the Palmer Museum of Art offer the community a chance to explore the many mediums of art. And this year, a new door will open for a different set of pupils.

Varying every year, each three-hour workshop is thematically linked to a specific collection at the museum, said Dana Carlisle Kletchka, the museum’s curator of education.

“They really spend some time in a special exhibition,” she said of the workshops.

The workshops, which started in 2001, are available for both children and adults. However, a June 15 class will be geared towards those aged 14 to 18, Kletchka said.

Called “Metamorphic Me: Self-Portraits Inspired by Leon Kelly,” the class will explore the stylistic diversity of Kelly’s works and discuss ideas about metamorphosis and change in the Palmer exhibition “Suspended Contemplation: Drawings and Watercolors by Leon Kelly,” according to Palmer’s website.

In Saturday's session, participants will develop self-portraits that utilize contemporary materials to create unique drawings which will then be deconstructed and reassembled. The goal, the website states, is to fuse Kelly’s unique style with the tools and techniques used by illustrators and street artists working today.

Some of this summer’s other topics include “Strategies of Engagement through Contemporary Portraiture” for adults, “My Town: Special Spaces and Places in Central Pennsylvania” for ages 5 through 8, and “Magnificent Mezzotints and Magical Monoprints” for ages 9 through 12. Workshops are offered from June through August.

One of the workshops, Kletchka said, focuses on surrealist water colors, “which is a medium that is notoriously difficult to work with.”

Kletchka said it’s not often people get a chance to have “directed hands-on experience with art," which is something these workshops provide. They present an opportunity for those who aren’t artists or experts to learn more about the process, have fun and be creative. 

Part of the reason these workshops are offered during the summer, she explained, is that people often have more time during the summer to devote to special projects or interests, or take classes they wouldn’t otherwise have time to.

Additionally, the area audience changes during the summer, Kletchka said, since families may be in and out of town for vacations, and students may be away for the season. That’s why it’s important for the Palmer Museum of Art to reach out to community members who are here, she said.

And since these sessions are free, they are accessible to a wide variety of people and families, Kletchka said.

“We really do welcome anyone who’s interested,” she said.

In her experience, Kletchka notices that younger children may use the workshops more to explore and play, while adults often attend because a certain theme or medium is a hobby of theirs, or a class is something they’ve always been interested in trying.

“Different people have different motivations for coming,” she said.

Planning for the summer workshops begins early in the year, Kletchka said, and involves discussing ideas with the workshops instructors, who are often artists in the community, doctoral students or those who have worked in museums before.

All workshops are free, and materials are provided, she said.

The classes are limited to about 15 to 20 participants, Kletchka said. However, parents or guardians are invited to attend the workshops for young children.

Kletchka said if someone isn’t sure about trying out a workshop, they should try to remove all doubt and hesitation and “just do it.”

“Just go and explore and have fun,” she said. “You have nothing to lose.”

Space is limited and participants must preregister by contacting Kletchka at (814) 863-9188 or [email protected]

For more information about the workshops, or for a complete list of the schedule and class descriptions, click HERE.

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Staff Writer at The Centre County Gazette
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