Art Education is key to the mission of the Arts Council of Princeton

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The Arts Council of Princeton is more than the Communiversity, its annual arts festival.

The Arts Council of Princeton is an organization dedicated to art education.

The organization offers a range of courses and classes designed to introduce or enhance people’s art knowledge and skills.

Classes are offered for those who have beginners, intermediate, or advanced art skills and people do not have to just be adults to take classes. There are classes for children and teens.

“We definitely have a lot of beginner courses, while also trying to encourage more intermediate and advanced adults and students,” said Erin Armington, education coordinator for the council.

“A lot of our instructors will have a beginners and an intermediate and advanced course of different types of art mediums. This allows people to progress with the same instructors they started with.”

She said the Arts Council has an even mix between beginners, intermediate, and advanced adults taking program classes.

“We get a lot of people who maybe have not done painting in years, but want to get back into it. So often we get people who have taken class courses before, but need a refresher,” Armington said. “Once they start it all starts to come back. We also get people who are experiencing a class for the first time. They do not really have knowledge about topics like drawing and painting. We try to nurture that as well.”

She said it is important that the adults who take the classes, have a range of different art mediums to participate in.

“We definitely have a lot of drawing and painting classes, because I think a lot of people are drawn to art through those mediums. We also have a lot of mediums that are not well known or as popular as a part of our art education,” Armington said.

“One of those classes are our textile classes, which is not as well known in our art medium arsenal. We are still trying to expand our textile offerings. Drawing and Painting will always be something we are known for, but our art education encompasses a little bit of everything when it comes to art mediums.”

Other program class offerings include sewing, acoustic painting and acrylic painting, according to Arts Council officials.

“Drawing, painting and ceramics are the art classes we see most people participating in. We have a full functioning kiln, which is a furnace, and nine pottery wheels in our ceramics studio, which is rare. So, our ceramics program is pretty strong here,” Armington said. “We get mostly repeating students who come back semester after semester. Drawing, painting, and ceramics are definitely the media people come back again and again for.”

For people who have an interest in poetry, the Arts Council has a class for the art medium, according to officials.

“For Literary Arts we have an ‘Arts Everyday’ writing class. That class has been going on for years and is another example where one of our instructors gets the same participants semester after semester,” she said. “For the moment we just have one writing class, but we are definitely open to having more.”

Most classes take place at the Arts Council’s Paul Robeson Center in Princeton.

“I would say we have three to four studios, and often time use other rooms as studios. We have a lot of room here. We have great partnerships with local organizations in the area that helps us as well with having classes take place. One of those partnerships is with Morven Museum and Garden in Princeton,” Armington said.

She said the Arts Council art education is not only for adults. They offer a summer camp and classes for children and teens.

“We separate our summer camp into two age groups. So, 5-9 year olds are who we consider our young ones here. For them they are just beginning to get into art and not sure what their passion is,” Armington said. “For them we try to offer a variety of art mediums in the course of a day. They are exploring drawing, painting, ceramics, and paper mache just to name a few. They will do these each in the course of a week, it is very project based.”

“For the older children from 10-16, we call them art studios. Children at that age often have a clear sense of what their art passion is. For them the camp is more intensive, in the sense that they will be doing drawing and painting for the whole morning, a full 3 hours, then in the afternoon they are doing ceramics for another three hours for example,” she said. “They always have professional art instructors to help them guide them along and focus on getting them deeper into that art medium. We have a digital art studio here so a lot of the classes we provide through the camp are digital based. The real goal for the 10-16 group is to have a more intensive focus on certain types of mediums.”

Armington said the Arts Council wants to encourage children to have fun, try something new and learn.

Outside of classes and a summer camp, the Arts Council has in their art education arsenal art workshops.

“Workshops are for people who may not be able to commit to full class. In a class you create more of a community, because you meet with each other every week. Workshops though are also really fun,” she said. “Usually the workshops are a one-day opportunity to try something new and get your toes wet. It is a nice way to kind of start something out.”

Armington said the mission for art education is to have fun and experience different art mediums with others.

“We want to create a community through the arts whether it is adults or children taking our classes. We really try to uphold that through our classes and camp.”