POSTED ON NOVEMBER 14, 2012:
Tulsa Art Center is local artists' dream come true
All artists need inspiration. Environment influences everyone, but artists are especially sensitive to their surroundings along with their internal selves. Many have special rituals they perform to get them in the right mindset to paint, write, edit photos, and so forth. They often form groups within their chosen discipline and feed off each other's creative energy.
Artists also need space to do their work and opportunities to help them develop their skills.
Enter Tulsa Art Center. TAC, 6808 S. Memorial Dr., Ste. 236, is a comprehensive art school, where students get to work with true professionals who help them reach their creative goals. Art lovers of all ages and skill levels choose from a plethora of classes, from oil painting to watercolor, cartooning to portraits, calligraphy to photography. It is a non-accredited school, which allows students to discover their artistic interests, developing their talent at their own pace, without needing to follow -- an artist might say bogged down -- by a regulated curriculum.
"I started the Tulsa Art Center as a result of my frustration in finding art classes in Tulsa, especially in the evening," said Marie Sullivan, owner of TAC. "I realized that even though Tulsa had many talented artists, classes were extremely hard to find. I enrolled in several classes at area colleges, but they were either not long enough to achieve results or the classes cancelled."
Sullivan designed TAC to offer the freedom and flexibility for students to hone their craft on their own terms. Different schedules are accommodated and any variety of classes can be explored. "At TAC, our classes are ongoing, allowing the artist to develop their talent. We are also open... to allow stay at home residents as well as the working population to take art lessons," Sullivan said.
Along with regular classes, TAC holds workshops, lectures, and special programs, like curriculum for home-schooled kids, which is "based on Oklahoma Public Schools guidelines for art education," Sullivan said. She mentioned they also have an AP program, which, despite the non-accreditation, helps high school students develop their portfolios in order to take the AP test. In all classes, instructors incorporate demonstration, provide feedback, and educate students on master artists.
If you do not believe you have artistic talent, TAC could prove you wrong. Drawing ability is not necessary for beginners, as the acquisition of drawing skills can be taught. Tracing photographs is one way of learning, which is extremely beneficial to those without any previous experience. Using this technique can open new students' eyes to their potential as an artist. If you have ever wanted to give art a try, TAC is the perfect place to start.
There are several original programs at TAC. "Mommy and Me" allows moms and kids to work together creatively, exploring everything from stamping to painting. This class is held every Saturday from 10am-12pm. Every Saturday, "Children's Art Adventure" leads children ages 4-10 in fun projects from 2-4pm, while Mom and Dad have a break and maybe a lunch date. "Zentangles!" takes doodling to a whole new level, allowing participants to create a work of art by using repetitive patterns. (Not only is it fun, this activity actually lowers blood pressure.) This class is held every second Saturday of the month, from 10am-1pm. Bonus: Supplies are included in the cost of all three of these options. However, early registration is encouraged because classes fill up quickly.
"We also have what we call 'Crazy for Canvas' nights, where, for $35 a person, a group of five or more come to the studio and, with our instruction, they are able to complete an art piece to take home," Sullivan said. Bring your own treats and drinks, while they provide canvas, paint and instructions on how to create a fabulous work of art. Crazy for Canvas is only available from 6:30-10pm on Friday nights, and you must call to reserve the week of your preference.
TAC also has a program called Art Sampler. "And what it is, it's 4 classes for $85," Sullivan said. "For different medias... gosh, everything from colored pencils to sculpting... We have teachers come in. We only offer it quarterly." The next Art Sampler begins at the end of November. "It makes great Christmas presents!" Sullivan said, laughing.
Some of TAC's other regular classes include mixed media, charcoal, and abstract. They even have book illustration and fabric art. "Right now we're having acrylics, color pencil, oil, learn-to-draw, and cartooning and book illustration. Oh and Manga," Sullivan said. "Manga's a big thing for kids...We have sculpting, painting with ink."
As an added service, "Tulsa residents are able to come in and use the facility as their studio...They can use our easels, projectors, paper cutters, etc.," Sullivan said. The mini-studios -- which are 10x10 spaces -- are intended to give artists a home away from home to get work done. "Being around other artists can be a real motivator in the creativity process," Sullivan said.
It doesn't stop there. "We have a gallery... so that artists can sell their paintings. It is our goal to be known as the place to go to receive instruction as well as an artist's home away from home," Sullivan said. "We have art shows, periodic art shows."
An art sale is planned for Dec. 15, with the proceeds benefiting angel tree.
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