SAN ANGELO – Members of the local community looking for a chance to get their hands dirty and end up with an original piece of art when they are done have a new option at the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts . They may also end up being part of a larger effort to revitalize the local art scene.
In an effort to expand adult continuing education opportunities in the Concho Valley and in partnership with Howard College, the new Concho Clay Studio located at the museum will soon be offering pottery and clay sculpture classes.
Ariel Bowman, studio director and renowned ceramic artist / instructor, said establishing the clay studio is just one of the first steps towards resurrecting the local art scene in what has always been a place where people made things by hand.
“The museum wanted to use this to create adult arts education programs,” Bowman said. “At the moment, the museum mainly offers courses for young people. They want to bring back some of the “manual skills” that were commonly taught in this field. The goal of the adult education program is to create a larger arts and crafts school that will offer classes in multiple mediums, and we’re starting with ceramics. “
Bowman said the initiative built around the clay studio will include community outreach to nonprofits, schools and other organizations to realize the full potential of a revitalized art scene in San Angelo.
“There is always a great community around clay,” Bowman said. “It’s very community-driven material because it’s hard to do it on your own. You have to find a place with ovens that can bake your work. So a lot of people are looking for a studio like this where they can. take regular classes. Not everyone can afford to start a small ceramic studio in their garage. So that’s what we hope to deliver and what we hope to do with the studio is to fill a gap in the adult education. We are here to create more community in San Angelo through clay. “
The brainchild of San Angelo Art Gallery CEO and President Howard Taylor, it is hoped that the effort to establish a renewed interest in the arts starting with the clay studio will act as a spark, rekindling a wider movement towards economic and cultural rejuvenation through art. .
According to Taylor, the museum has big plans in store for San Angelo.
“It has to do with a really big vision,” Taylor said. “The essence is that the museum cares very deeply about the community, its traditions and its future well-being. This city has been a place of manufacture of goods and products. Like many places around the world , the workmanship here has changed or even gone in some cases.One of the things that intrigues us a lot is that San Angelo has been a place of remarkable handicrafts and products that go back to our original heritage.
“So we are looking broadly at the idea of creating a ‘manufacturer’ environment, a place where we try to attract companies that make things, especially handicrafts and traditional items like making boots and saddles. and try to tie in the regional craft traditions. So the big picture is that we are working to create this neighborhood that emphasizes traditional manufacturing and encourages a high level of creativity with technology. “
Taylor said that while there is still a lot of work to be done to start the process, it starts with the clay studio.
“In the future, we have a much broader vision and will add other types of programs,” Taylor said. “We hope that we can engage a whole generation and generations to come in this kind of effort of creativity by hand. So that’s a big vision and we’re going to go headlong with our ceramics program because that’s part of it. of the tradition of this community. “
You can find more information about the opportunities at the Concho Clay Studio at www.samfa.org/concho-clay-studio and www.howardcollege.edu.
Colin Murphey is a photojournalist covering everything going on in West Texas for the San Angelo Standard-Times. Send him a tip at [email protected] Consider supporting West Texas journalism with a subscription to GoSanAngelo.com.