SICA offers Art Club, private lessons

SICA offers Art Club, private lessons

Living near the Southern Indiana Center for the Arts in Seymour, Valerie Eckert often visits the historic building to let her creativity run wild.

Since the beginning of the year, she has stopped and found a quiet corner to relax and make art.

“There are watercolors. There is pastel. There is a pen and ink. There is charcoal. You can do whatever you want,” she said. “You can do mixed media.”

Sometimes she comes during Art Club, which runs between 2 and 7 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Sometimes she takes a private lesson from Executive Director Speck Mellencamp which is offered during the same period.

“Everyone has something to offer,” Eckert said. “We all learn from each other.”

It had been years since Eckert had visited SICA due to family and work, but now she has more time to spare.

“I live just down the street, so I’m like, ‘Valerie, stop and see what’s going on.’ I didn’t know about the Art Club, and it was pretty exciting,” she said. “(The arts center) is kind of a little gem here, actually. There’s nothing quite like it. .

The Art Club and private lessons are for all ages, all levels and all talents. Both Eckert and Mellencamp encourage more people to get involved.

“People shouldn’t really be afraid to try to do that. It’s an outlet. It’s relaxing,” Eckert said of the art.

“Even if you’ve never done art and always wanted to, don’t let that stop you,” Mellencamp said.

“It’s for anyone. Anyone can do it. I just think art should be for everyone and everyone should have it. … Everyone should have this outlet.

One of the best parts of Art Club is that there is no cost. If you want to bring your own gear, that’s fine. If you want to use the materials provided, that’s OK too.

Also, any kind of art is welcome.

“Someone came and they sewed and quilted one day, and I usually bring pens for me or oil paint because that’s what I’m interested in. That’s really all that interests you,” Mellencamp said. “The idea of ​​the Art Club is more like building a community and finding more art-savvy people or just people who want to jump in there to talk about whatever interests them and whatever they do, whatever it is.”

It’s a lax environment, and you can show up anytime and leave anytime, he said.

The club also fits into Mellencamp by moving the focus of the arts center.

“SICA’s focus, for me, seemed like we were doing a lot of gallery openings and things like that, and I wanted to change direction because I love art, I love looking at art , but more than just looking at art, I love doing it,” he said. “I wanted to share that, build a community, and I want the center to focus on a place to make art more than to see it. You come in and you do stuff and take classes. You meet people and you talk about art.

Private lessons are also flexible. You can do one session or you can do a series of lessons. You can do them once a week or once a month.

“We can be very flexible and work around what people want to do,” Mellencamp said. “Until now, most people have opted for once a week. If you want to do more or less, it’s up to you.

One-hour classes have a cost: $20 for members and $25 for non-members.

During the first lesson, Mellencamp said he asks the person what they want to do. Then they can tailor the lesson just for them, performing demonstrations and sharing knowledge along the way.

“I love doing one-on-one because everyone wants to learn something different and is in a different place – wherever they are in their journey, what they want to learn, what that interests him,” he said.

On Wednesday, 11-year-old Marshall Steffey of Seymour was taking a private lesson with Mellencamp, something he’s been doing once a week for about a month.

“He’s been into artistic things for a while and has been doing different drawings and things around the house, and we’re just trying to get him involved in an activity that he basically enjoys,” his mother, Amy Steffey, said. “We had an instructor he used to meet after school a few years ago and she moved away, and so we haven’t had anyone for a while, so I contacted SICA and asked if they had any lessons. art available. So here we are.

Marshall said the lessons helped him learn how to make art. Also, he is no longer into taekwondo like his siblings, and the art is more within his reach.

“I think that was our goal, just trying to find something for our kids that they really enjoy doing,” Amy said. “(Marshall) has tried many things, but one thing we never have to get him to go to is art. He’s always loved doing it. He’ll be drawing from home for long periods of time. any outlet or several positive outlets, and if art is going to be that for him, we just want to encourage it.

Since taekwondo no longer piqued his interest, Marshall found happiness in the art.

“I think art is a great thing. It’s a way of expression and he has fun doing it, which is great,” Amy said. he has an activity, and that’s what he’s always liked. It’s great that he’s exposed to that.