Artworks offers multiple classes for community members

FUN WITH ART: Penny Daab Cushway instructs participants Jennifer Allen and Jennifer Biller on technique while they create their paintings during the Paris on the Muskegon wine and canvas class. (Pioneer photo/Justin McKee)

FUN WITH ART: Penny Daab Cushway instructs participants Jennifer Allen and Jennifer Biller on technique while they create their paintings during the Paris on the Muskegon wine and canvas class. (Pioneer photo/Katlyn Vuillemot)

BIG RAPIDS — Jennifer Biller and Jennifer Allen never saw themselves as artists, yet after three hours working with an instructor, they walked out of Artworks with full-sized paintings.

Staff and volunteers at Artworks have had years of experience in their field and are excited to share their knowledge with the community.

“Art helps you think differently because it stimulates other parts of the brain,” said Denise Cosper, Artworks director of education. “It’s about expressing your creativity, having fun and not worrying about if you’re good at it or not.”

With the help of community support, Artworks has hosted hundreds of classes from dance to basket weaving and pottery to canvas painting.

A class that can bring a group of family and friends together is Artworks’ wine and canvas class, Paris on the Muskegon.

“If you know absolutely nothing about painting you can still do the class,” Cosper said. “You just have to be willing to try.”

Paris on the Muskegon participants learn to re-create a painting. The instructor brings in a piece he or she created and works with everyone in the class giving step-by-step instructions on how to re-create that painting.

ARTISTIC ABILITY: Jennifer Biller works to re-create the suggest piece, but gives it her own flare. Although guests are re-creating the same piece, everyone produces a unique painting. (Pioneer photo/Katlyn Vuillemot)

ARTISTIC ABILITY: Jennifer Biller works to re-create the suggest piece, but gives it her own flare. Although guests are re-creating the same piece, everyone produces a unique painting. (Pioneer photo/Katlyn Vuillemot)

“The instructor has perfected the technique of their particular painting,” Cosper said. “Within three hours, everyone will go home with a finished work.”

To add a little flare to the class, guests are encouraged to bring their favorite wine and snacks to enjoy while painting.

“Paris on the Muskegon is just so much fun and although it’s the same image everyone is aiming for, not one person goes home with the same picture,” said Penny Daab Cushway, class instructor. “Guests don’t have to paint exactly what I have done. Mine just gives them a start.”

On Sept. 25, friends Biller and Allen arrived at Artworks for the Paris in Muskegon class with one goal in mind: to have some fun.

“It’s our night out,” they said.

Daab Cushway helped Biller and Allen to create an art piece using acrylics.

The original art piece was displayed in the front of the class, suggested paint colors were spread out on a table and the instructor walked between the artists giving them advice and helping with technique.

“Participants are going to begin the process of training their hands to be an artist,” Cosper said. “A lot of people have an eye for art, but not everyone is trained to produce on paper what they see in their mind.”

The next Paris on the Muskegon class will take place at from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 16, at Artworks. The class will be led by instructor Julie Tilmann and will feature a fall-themed acrylic.

According to Cosper, art is a way for people to break out of their comfort zone that doesn’t always require a paintbrush.

Artworks also is offering a ballroom dance class.

“We lost our dance instructor a little while ago so we weren’t able to have the classes,” Cosper said. “Our dance floors were crying for use.”

DANCE LESSONS: Artworks has brought back dance lessons thanks to the new instructor, Rebecca Luchies. Pictured Luchies (center) instructs Richard Johnson on how to dance the rumba. (Pioneer photo/Justin McKee)

DANCE LESSONS: Artworks has brought back dance lessons thanks to the new instructor, Rebecca Luchies. Pictured Luchies (center) instructs Richard Johnson on how to dance the rumba while his wife, Christine studies their dance form. (Pioneer photo/Justin McKee)

The new instructor, Rebecca Luchies, has been dancing her whole life and has focused on ballroom dance the past seven years.

“You don’t have to be a professional artist to be a dancer,” Luchies said. “It’s a way to express yourself.”

The ballroom dance classes will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. on Mondays at Artworks.

“Guests don’t have to bring a partner or know anything about dance because the instructor is there to teach you,” Cosper said. “It’s a lot of fun, it’s good exercise and it gets you out of your comfort zone.”

Richard and Christine Johnson, a couple from Canadian Lakes, wanted to brush up on their dancing skills and found Artworks to be a perfect location.

“I was tired of not knowing what I was doing on the dance floor,” Richard said. “I was always doing the same old moves.”

The two attended the Sept. 28 class and learned the basics of rumba and salsa.

“Dance classes are great way to meet new people and are fun for couples,” Luchies said. “They are learning something new together.”

For more information about the classes or any other offering at Artworks, call (231) 796-2420.

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Posted by Katlyn Vuillemot

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