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Arts Annex debuts free student workshops

<p>The Arts Annex sits on top of a hill between East and West Campus and offers students a place to explore their artistic side. </p>

The Arts Annex sits on top of a hill between East and West Campus and offers students a place to explore their artistic side. 

This Fall the Arts Annex is opening up its space not only to Duke students, but to the Durham community.

The Annex will be hosting the DukeCreate Arts Workshop Series, a series of weekly arts workshops centered around various art forms including drawing, painting, ceramics, screen printing and photography. These small group classes will be taught by professional artists from around Durham who will help students create and critique their own art. They are first-come, first-served and are open to all Duke students, regardless of skill level.

The workshops are a chance for students to explore their artistic interests in a more experimental environment, said Bill Fick, a printmaker and visiting assistant professor of art, art history and visual studies.

“This would be a great place for people to come and be creative and make art, but not have the pressures of an academic environment,” Fick said.

The workshops also serve as a way for students to familiarize themselves with the Arts Annex and the arts community on campus. Although the Annex is already a popular spot for organized arts groups, the workshop series will mark the first time that the space has been used for consistent, weekly workshops centered around visual arts. 

Fick also emphasized the importance of consistency, noting that students would be more likely to attend if they knew the workshops were taking place with some regularity and in a casual setting.

Anshu Vipparla, a senior and president of duARTS, said she hopes to use the workshop series to promote the arts on campus and to let students experience different artistic perspectives and forms of art.

“As more students go to these workshops, it contributes more to the overall arts community on campus,” Vipparla said.

She also noted that the workshops would help connect the Duke and Durham arts communities, as the program allows local artists to instruct the students in their chosen art medium.

“Durham is amazing, but oftentimes students don’t have the ability to go out and check out these galleries, to meet these amazing artists around the city,” Vipparla said.

Sylvia Herbold, an MFA student employed at the Arts Annex, was involved in setting up the workshop series and organizing the artists who would act as instructors for the program.

“They are not only talented, but really interesting people with a lot of energy and enthusiasm for their craft,” Herbold said.

She also noted that the ceramics instructor for the workshops, Mark Kozma, sells the pottery he creates at the Durham Farmer’s Market, and that many of the instructors display their art in local art in galleries around Durham. In participating in the workshops, students would have a chance to connect with these people in addition to improving their own craft.

“It will expand not only the Duke students’ awareness of art on campus but also awareness of Durham at large,” Herbold said.

Although the program is in its infancy, many of those involved with its implementation are looking towards the future. Fick revealed that a film and video workshop will be run in the Spring semester and noted the possibility of an expansion of the program as a whole, depending on student feedback.

“The workshops are innovative and informal learning opportunities in a creative maker space for all students, faculty and staff to further their creative interests, make new friends, try a new medium and have fun,” said Amy Unell, a Career Center alumna in residence and arts entrepreneurship assistant.

DukeArts, University Center Activities and Events, duARTS, VisARTS, Artstigators and the Arts Annex collaborated to set up the workshops, which are held on Wednesday and Thursday nights and Saturday afternoons at the Arts Annex through November.

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