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From 3 to 103 KAC’s education department encourages art for all

PARK CITY, Utah — On a Monday at 10 a.m., a group of women gathers in the Kimball Art Center’s (KAC) adult workshop for a watercolor class led by teacher and artist Phil Vasquez. Their subject is a clear glass vase of sunflowers filled partway with water and sunlight shining into the room.

“We’re supposed to focus on the water and reflection of water. You can draw the whole piece or just focus on a small part,” said student Linda Smaligo who has taken other KAC classes like oil painting.

“For a lot of students, [our programs] are a community, and they get to meet interesting people. And our exhibitions are meant to ask questions and help you think through ideas. Art’s not just about making, but exploring creative ideas,” said KAC Education Director Heather Stamenov.

Artist and teacher Phil Vasquez's class on watercolors is like a relaxed hangout art session..
Artist and teacher Phil Vasquez’s class on watercolors is like a relaxed hangout art session. Photo: TownLift // Meredith Kleuver

KAC offers adult and kids’ classes as both drop-ins or weeks-long series. Its education department provides teen and kids camps, after-school programs, and is bringing back its K-12 Art Tours, which took a pandemic break like many other programs.

“[The school tours] is a free program teachers can sign up for, where we either go to the school, or they come to us like a field trip program,” said Stamenov. “What’s unique about it is that instead of just showing the artwork in [our current] exhibitions, we take it a step further and make something. A big part of our education is you learn by doing, you learn by trying.”

KAC has six metalsmithing and jewelry stations complete to dive into a new skill. Photo: TownLift // Meredith Kleuver

Creative Expressions is a kids’ art program for ages 6-12 that meets weekly. It’s for the kid that wants to discover everything art. Each week students dive into a different art form. They explore various materials, mediums, artists, and techniques.

“A lot of people think that art is just making or just developing your craft,” she said. “We make sure that the kids’ lessons are well rounded in terms of kids reflecting or expressing themselves. My favorite to remind kids to do is work hard. Keep going if it doesn’t work out the first time.”

The Kimball Art Center’s education department focuses on bringing people of all ages (even those as young as three), talents, and experiences to learn about a new skill, further develop creative interests and explore similar artistic practices through exhibitions on display.

Its directors and teachers encourage people to try an art class or walk the exhibit, especially if you’re not involved or familiar with the art world. Art shouldn’t be intimidating; it should be fun and exploratory.

The education department has a dedicated kids’ classroom, a clay and clay throwing room, and a combined welding and jewelry/metalsmithing room. Its clay department has two electric kilns and a gas kiln. Each class offered provides all of the tools and equipment needed.

KAC’s education department runs programming for all ages year-round and hopes to see new faces in the exhibit and get some hands dirty.

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