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MWPAI gears up for summer with array of classes, events

Jack Elliott, Special to the Daily Sentinel
Posted 7/9/22

Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, 310 Genesee St., is gearing up for a summer full of events, including a crammed schedule of summer Community Art Education classes for all age groups. …

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MWPAI gears up for summer with array of classes, events

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UTICA — Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, 310 Genesee St., is gearing up for a summer full of events, including a crammed schedule of summer Community Art Education classes for all age groups.

While some classes begin Monday, registration is still open for additional courses and workshops. Some classes are held over multiple weeks, while other workshops and mini classes are held in one session to accommodate students’ varied schedules.

Several of the courses are three-weeks long and run from mid-July to mid-August. However, there are plenty of other classes with early and late start dates, as well as mini-courses that run for a single session.

Classes are offered based on age group, with kids, teens, and adult courses available. Program scholarships are even available for children, teens and adults.

This year, youth classes are all tuition free through a new grant provided by the state Gun Violence Prevention Program, which explains why almost all of those courses are already full, said Audrey Taylor, community arts education and residency director at the institute. In total, around 300 people are already registered for classes.

Classes range from drawing and ceramics to chain making, stop-motion animation and multi-figure painting inspired by the current Norman Rockwell exhibition open in the museum gallery. Offering the full range of art is part of the appeal of the MWP art classes, said Taylor.

“Our strengths are teaching fundamentals and teaching new techniques and mediums. This gives students a wider launch pad for a future in art,” she said.

MWPAI is still working on rebuilding its program after COVID-19. During the height of the pandemic, the art center was forced to suspend all youth classes and enrollment for other classes declined as well. The school has still not returned to its pre-COVID class sizes and some courses have been discontinued for the time being, according to Taylor.

However, she said, there are many efforts to fully rebuild the community arts program. A new roster of classes is being looked into, and MWPAI is looking forward to an improved digital and design curriculum in the coming years.

Taylor stressed the importance of the classes for all age groups, claiming that they are both educational and enjoyable.

“Our courses are a good way to release stress and many people say that they come here for relaxation and therapy,” she said. “People can let out their energy while learning about the techniques and history of art.”

Taylor also said that many people may discover — or rediscover — a passion that they hold for art while at the summer classes. In particular, the youth classes serve to give students a way to explore and learn about the world of art.

“The youth programs here do an excellent job fostering creativity,” said Taylor. “People often say that taking an art class here as a kid made a large impression on them. The classes introduce kids to new spaces and allows them to try forms of art they otherwise may not have access to.”

Students “also get exposed to different materials and quality materials that may not be an option at home or at school,” she added.

The classes are all held in the same facility at Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute. A full calendar of courses as well as registration information is found online at www.mwpai.org.

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