Learning a new craft

Allie Garza//Kentucky Kernel

Attendance rises for unique art classes

By Jennifer Graham

UK’s Fine Arts Institute has been offering community members the chance to enhance their artistic abilities since 1993. However, not many people knew about the classes until this year, said Jane Andrus, student affairs coordinator for the Fine Arts Institute.

“Last September when I took the position, it was my duty to revamp the Fine Arts Institute,” Andrus said. “We put some money and time into it and we are offering new classes.”

Among the classes offered are jewelry making and ceramics, and they last nine weeks. Through new advertising efforts, the Fine Arts Institute has seen a rise in enrollment from last year’s maximum of 50 students to this year’s enrollment of between 80-90.

The classes are open to anyone, and Andrus said only one person enrolled is a UK student. Students don’t get credit for taking the courses, but Laurie Appleby-Williams, an art studio senior, said she enrolled in the jewelry making class because it was different from those offered for credit by the university.

“I’ve always been interested in jewelry making, but UK doesn’t offer a course for it, unlike (Eastern Kentucky University), which has a jewelry making program,” Appleby-Williams said. “I found the Fine Arts Institute by browsing UK’s Web site.”

Andrus said the classes are quite popular and are geared toward people who cannot or would rather not take an actual college course.

“A lot of people would like to take art classes, but they don’t want to pay tuition or go through the process of applying and getting accepted,” Andrus said. “The Fine Arts Institute’s classes allows for people to fill their niche without enrolling in a college course.”

The art classes are open to all skill levels, and students range from amateurs to professionals.

“My class isn’t just people who have never made jewelry,” Appleby-Williams said. “There is one lady in my class that has jewelry in Berea’s arts and crafts festival.”

College of Pharmacy Assistant Professor Doug Steinke is entering his third year as a ceramics student. Students gain a whole new perspective from taking the classes, Steinke said, especially when the class isn’t filled by just art majors.

“By taking the ceramics class multiple times, I’ve learned to pick up on skills by looking at other people’s work,” Steinke said. “I also have the chance to share my skills and knowledge with others. For beginners, it’s frustrating at first. They need reassurance.”

Some students have the desire to take the classes, but many don’t have the equipment. The classes allow students access to tools they might not have outside the classroom.

“I’ve been doing pottery for 15 years, but I don’t own equipment like a wheel or kiln, so taking the class gives me a chance to work with the equipment,” Steinke said. “I also enjoy the social atmosphere the classes offer.”