Close Encounters Of The “Art” Kind

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Have you ever been to an art museum and wondered how the artist created his/her work? What was the process involved? And just what exactly was that material?

The Kennedy Museum of Art in Athens, Ohio, seeks to answer your questions and gives you the chance to recreate an artist’s technique in a series of hands-on classes called “Art Encounters.”

“Art Encounters is a fee-based program that includes gallery discussions in current exhibitions and studio activities,” explained Sally Delgado, curator of Education at the museum. “Programs are offered on Saturdays for children in grades K through 6, and we have started a new program for teens and adults currently being held on a series of Thursday evenings.”

Art Encounters has a long history of bringing the arts to the eyes and hands of Athens art enthusiasts. The program actually began in 1996 as a part of the Art Education program at Ohio University.

When the university program ended in 2006, the Kennedy Museum of Art started working on a plan to bring it back. Art Encounters was reinstalled in 2011 as a fee-based series of classes for differing age groups.

Mac Stricklen is a Athens community member and Ohio University employee who takes his six year old daughter, Ella, to the Art Encounters children’s classes. He praises Arts Encounters for being an excellent combination of art education and fun for his daughter and other kids.

“We signed Ella up mostly just because she has always enjoyed drawing, painting, and creating, and this series seemed like a great way to expose her to aspects of art that I would never have been able to teach her about,” he said. “I’ve been impressed not only with the works she brings home, but also with her commentary on the exhibits in the museum when she and [her mother] and I have gone in to look around. I mean, she’s not going to be asked to write art critiques for The New Yorker anytime soon, but it’s more observant and profound that what I would assume would normally come out of a first-grader. And I really think that’s a product of how the instructors are working with them.”

Delgado explains that these classes are always changing, and advises the community to keep a look out for those that may be of interest.

“Classes are designed to complement the exhibition schedule. This fall, two new instructors, Elizabeth Ferrill and Katrina Stolarski, have put together a series of classes that focus on current exhibitions and art-making activities that relate to content or techniques evident in the artwork on display,” explained Delgado.

Some upcoming classes for grades K through 6 include “Dioramas” on Nov. 3, “Distant Landscapes” on Nov. 17, “Diptych Painting” on Dec. 1. and “Relief Styrofoam Prints” on Dec. 8.  Each of these classes ranges from $18 to $20.

For more information and a detailed schedule of classes, visit the Kennedy Museum of Art’s website at